According to our independent panel of judges, the high caliber of every submission in this year's ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Projects competition made selecting winners incredibly difficult.

Photo by Aker Imaging
Crane Worldwides three-story atrium features a monumental stairway with glass and stainless steel railings.

This year's award winners were very diverse, representing a wide selection of construction projects in varied markets that were completed across the region between July 1, 2011 and June 30. They range from the restoration of an early 20th-century courthouse to an innovative bridge inspired by a state bird to the world's largest drainage pump station and a massive bridge relocation across state borders. But to win distinction as a Best Project, each one had to demonstrate innovation, exceptional quality and an ability to find creative solutions to daunting challenges. To select the region's best, ENR Texas & Louisiana recruited an independent panel of six industry professionals, representing diverse fields of expertise. In the end, our judges recognized 42 projects.

More than 200 entries were submitted by contractors, owners and design firms in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The number of quality submissions shows that despite tough economic times for the construction business, plenty of projects are still being built.

The judges selected winning ENR Texas & Louisiana entries based on criteria such as overcoming challenges and teamwork, safety record, innovation, contribution to the industry and community, construction and craft quality, design function and aesthetics. This year’s jury included: Dana Birkes, Corporate Vice President, Flintco, Tulsa, Okla.; Wayne Crew, Director, The Construction Industry Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; Paul Hawryluk, Facilities Services Director, Raba Kistner Consultants Inc., San Antonio; Mike Holland, Executive Vice President and CEO, American Council for Construction Education
, San Antonio; James C. Smith, Professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; and Steve Penson, Regional Manager, Austin Commercial, Dallas.

ENR Texas & Louisiana also added a new award to this year's contest that recognizes project safety. While safety has always been a criteria in the Best Projects competition, the editorial staff deemed it worthy of special recognition for projects that exceeded goals. Any project could be considered for this distinction in addition to the other category awards, and industry participants offered more than 70 entries that vied for this award.

This year’s safety judges included: Dennis Cobb, HSE Manager, Project Services, Phillips 66, Houston; Wayne Crew, Director, The Construction Industry Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; Billy Gibbons, Global Account Executive, JMJ Associates, Houston; and Jimmie Hinze, Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

We invite you to read on to find out more about all of these well executed projects across the region.


Texas & Louisiana Project of the Year

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) West Closure Complex, New Orleans



Best Project: Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) West Closure Complex, New Orleans

Award of Merit: Improvements to the Chalmette Loop Levee, Bayou Dupree to Hwy 46, Reach LPV 146, St. Bernard Parish, La.

Award of Merit: Seabrook Gate Project, New Orleans



Best Project: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark.



Best Project: Marine Corps Support Facility, New Orleans

Award of Merit: Rockwall County Courthouse, Rockwall, Texas


Green Project

Best Project: University of North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, Texas

Award of Merit: University of Texas Marine Science Institute Reserve Headquarters and Lab Expansion, Port Aransas, Texas


Health Care

Best Project: San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas

Award of Merit: University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso, Texas

Award of Merit: Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women, Houston


Higher Education/Research

Best Project: Memorial Student Center Renovation and Addition, College Station, Texas



Best Project: Crane Worldwide, Houston

Award of Merit: South Central Utility Plant at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas


Interior Design/Tenant Improvement

Best Project: El Paso Corp. Tower Renovation, Houston

Award of Merit: Fulbright & Jaworski, Austin, Texas



Best Project: Ann Richards Middle School, Dallas, Texas

Award of Merit: Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, Irving, Texas


Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development

Best Project: North Boulevard Town Square Project, Phase 1, Baton Rouge, La.



Best Project: MD Anderson Cancer Center Mid Campus Building and Garage, Houston

Award of Merit: Hess Tower, Houston



Best Project: Lafayette General Medical Center Tower Renovations, Lafayette, La.

Award of Merit: 1910 Courthouse Historic Restoration, Houston

Award of Merit: University of Texas at Austin School of Law Jesse H. Jones Hall, Austin, Texas

Award of Merit: Vertical Expansion at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Plano, Texas



Best Project: Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas

Award of Merit: Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans


Retail/Mixed-Use Developments

Best Project: Pearl Brewery Development, San Antonio, Texas



Best Project: Marine Corps Support Facility, New Orleans

Award of Merit: University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso, Texas

Award of Merit: Blue Plate Artist Lofts, New Orleans


Small Project (Under $10 Million)

Best Project: University of Texas at Dallas Visitor Center and University Bookstore, Richardson, Texas

Award of Merit: Star of Hope Children's Building, Houston


Specialty Contracting

Best Project: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas

Award of Merit: Harris County 1910 Courthouse Restoration, Houston



Best Project: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

Award of Merit: NOLA Motorsports, Avondale, La.



Best Project: John James Audubon Bridge, Pointe Coupee Parish, La.

Award of Merit: Oklahoma City Skydance Bridge, Project No. BC-0180, Oklahoma City

Award of Merit: Houma to Freeport Bridge Relocation, Houma, La., and Freeport, Texas

Award of Merit: LA 1 Improvements, Phase 1A Bridge Construction, Fourchon/Leeville, La.