Mortenson Construction, one of the largest construction services companies in the Northwest, announced it has won a prestigious national award from the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) for its collaborative work on the University of Washington Tacoma’s Y Student Center.
The design-build tandem of Mortenson Construction and Tacoma-based McGranahan Architects received DBIA’s 2015 National Award of Merit in the Educational Facilities category. Now in its 20th year, the awards program recognizes the project teams that demonstrate best practices in design-build across nine construction categories, while delivering value and innovation to project owners. Design-build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services.
“To win a National Design-Build Project/Team Award, projects must not only achieve budget and schedule goals, but also demonstrate advanced and innovative application of design-build best practices,” said DBIA CEO Lisa Washington. “This year’s winning projects exemplify extraordinary teaming performance.”
Mortenson Construction and McGranahan Architects will now vie for Project of the Year honors at DBIA’s November conference in Denver, Colorado.
“Our shared vision ultimately resulted in a collaborative, highly-effective team that delivered both a centerpiece for student life, and a safe haven for family fun and fitness in downtown Tacoma,” said John Baker, Mortenson Construction project manager.
Opened to the public in January 2015, the Y Student Center at 1710 Market Street in downtown Tacoma is a 70,238 square-foot facility built adjacent to the UW Tacoma campus. The $20 million project was jointly developed by UW Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce & Kitsap Counties as both a student center and a new YMCA facility for downtown patrons. Amenities include assembly space and office space, locker rooms, strength-training offerings, cardio and track components and a gymnasium sized to accommodate one NCAA-regulation basketball court. Through an integrated design and construction process, the project team delivered the Y Student Center in 18 months – four months ahead of the requirement.
Sustainability was a focal point throughout, including the demolition of the existing Longshoremen’s Hall. Wood from the building was salvaged and reutilized in a large wall display and a plaque memorializing the structure. LED lighting was also incorporated into the project, resulting in lower energy costs for years to come.
The entire design-build team participated in campus forum during each academic term and made efforts to include student input in all major project milestones. When students asked for a larger climbing wall than what was planned, the project team provided one – at no extra cost to the owner – by incorporating it as a required structural shear.
The Y Student Center opened to rave reviews from UW Tacoma students, who financed much of the project with student fees. The expedited timeline afforded the same students who approved the fees an opportunity to enjoy the facility, a rarity in higher-education project delivery.
“Student engagement is an area where the design-build team exceeded campus expectations,” said Ed Mirecki, UW Tacoma’s Dean of Student Engagement.
Earlier this month, the Y Student Center received a local award for its role in revitalizing downtown Tacoma: the Ghilarducci Award, presented as part of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s 2015 New Tacoma Awards. The Y Student Center was nominated by members of the community.