I have this area I want to frame in my basement, where there is an engineered wood beam with my heating/ac duct trunk right behing it. I'd like to frame a bulkhead (or lower ceiling level) from the wood beam over to the nearest wall (see pictures). THe wood beam would form the nailing surface for the "face" of the bulkhead, and I would need to frame in the lower ceiling plane for the remaining nailing surface. I've sold myself on using metal studs for this - picked some up at local borg (which only had 25 gage, and don't get me started on the actually finding them in the store experience).
Originally I had planned on framing perpendicular to the wood beam - the blue lines in the drawings below. I then realized I would lose 4" of ceiling space because the studs would have to sit "on end" and pass below the ductwork.
I now would like to install the studs parellel to the wood beam - red lines in the drawing below.
My question is, will the steel studs be suitable for spanning the 9.5' from front to back?
Should I install a steel channel halfway thru, and tie it into the floor joists above with some short "cripple" studs.
blue, plan A, red, what I'd like to do instead: