The 2015 Best Projects competition in the Mountain States featured nearly 100 entries. They were judged on design and construction quality, contribution to the community and the industry and how they overcame unusual challenges through teamwork and innovation.

To be eligible, projects had to be located in any of the five states comprising the Mountain States region—Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado—as well as the extended reach of the Plains states—Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

Firms could enter more than one project per category but not the same project in different categories. Scoring was done on a standard numerical scale, and the judges allowed multiple winners if aggregate scores were very close and the projects were deemed to be of nearly equal merit. 

After all tallies were in, judges chose by consensus a project from Colorado, Wyoming and the Plains States and one from the Intermountain area (Utah, Idaho and Montana) to stand as Best Projects of the Year—work that clearly outdistanced other winners. This year, those honors went to projects with key cultural and community impacts: the stunning new Science Pyramid at Denver Botanic Gardens and Nampa Library Square in Nampa, Idaho.

The 16-sided, honeycombed Science Pyramid features interactive exhibits that teach visitors about Colorado’s unique climate and landscape while highlighting the gardens’ research and conservation efforts. It helps explore the relationship between plants and people.

The Nampa Library is the cultural and community anchor for redevelopment of an entire city block in downtown Nampa. The 62,000-sq-ft library is accompanied by a new parking structure and two office and retail buildings, creating a public plaza with fountains, grass and space for outdoor dining.

This year’s Best Project of the Year finalists also included Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, Utah; Jabs Hall College of Business at Montana State University in Bozeman; and the New Saint Joseph Hospital and the Colorado State Capitol Dome Restoration projects in Denver.