The American Council of Engineering Cos. of Colorado honored the winners of its 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards on November 2, spotlighting 13 innovative Colorado projects by ACEC member firms.

A Grand Conceptor Award for the overall best engineering project was presented to CTL|Thompson Inc. for the Regency Athletic Complex at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Excellence Awards were presented to KL&A Inc. for Aspen Art Museum, FEI Engineers Inc. for St. Vrain Sanitation District Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion, RMG – Rocky Mountain Group for the Broadmoor Cloud Camp, Merrick & Co. for the Data Fusion to Predict Habitat Quality, and Olsson Associates for the Aerial Survey of Kokopelli Trail.

Project entries by Colorado engineering firms were rated by a panel of industry professionals who judged each project on the criteria of uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget. 

Colorado’s Grand Conceptor and Engineering Excellence Award winners will advance to the national ACEC competition, held April 19, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

2016 Grand Conceptor Award
Regency Athletic Complex at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Engineer: CTL|Thompson Inc.

Redeveloping a major brownfield into a new sports facility complex with athletic fields for baseball, softball and soccer teams, as well as tennis courts and running paths for Metropolitan State University of Denver, was a major challenge—economically and environmentally. An onsite environmental inspection revealed asbestos and chemical contaminants on the former industrial property, which had housed truck fleets, cold-storage facilities, a railyard for coal and an adjacent chemical storage company. 

Instead of excavating and removing contaminated soils and replacing the property with imported fill, CTL|Thompson used deep dynamic compaction to increase the density of soils and compact the fill. This alternative made the project economically feasible.

The team used a 100-ft-tall crane with a 30-ton weight for compacting and took measures to monitor air quality and vibrations from the impact. The process revitalized the site and saved the client up to $3 million in disposal costs, allowing the university to complete the $23.6-million sports complex and further enhance the MSU campus experience.

Engineering Excellence Awards
Data Fusion Predicts Habitat Quality, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Engineer:  Merrick & Co.

The Air Force uses hyperspectral imagery and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote-sensing technologies as cost-effective ways to monitor environmental impacts at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Merrick & Co., the primary mapping consultant, was responsible for overall technical implementation, aviation coordination, sensor integration, LiDAR acquisition and point-cloud post-processing.

Aspen Art Museum, Aspen
Engineer: KL&A Inc.

The Aspen Art Museum is an iconic 33,000-sq-ft venue in Aspen designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban. The building features a two-way, wood-space frame floor structure above the top-floor terrace, unique in the world in terms of its form, use of innovative wood materials, and its fabrication and construction.

KL&A Inc. worked collaboratively with an international team to create a combination of spruce and micro-laminated birch plywood with a custom layup to optimize wood grain direction relative to local stresses, and members were connected almost entirely with fully threaded wood screws that remain invisible from below. 

St. Vrain District Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion, Firestone, Colo.
Engineer:  FEI Engineers Inc.

A new, state-of-the-art regional wastewater treatment facility has positioned the St. Vrain Sanitation District to meet future regulatory wastewater compliance. FEI Engineers Inc. incorporated design solutions that were efficient, ecological and sustainable. The facility is one of the first in Colorado to install screw-press dewatering technology, a ready means of converting stabilized biosolids into a usable and marketable product.

Aerial Survey of Kokopelli Trail, Fruita, Colo.
Engineer: Olsson Associates

The city of Fruita wanted to connect its residents to the world-class Kokopelli Trail network. Olsson Associates surveyed the proposed trail connection and staked survey control points to help guide its pro bono drone  survey of the five-mile project area. The use of drones not only required less manpower and fewer resources than a traditional ground team survey, but also delivered a more accurate and “workable” product.

Broadmoor Cloud Camp, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Engineer: RMG – Rocky Mountain Group

RMG – Rocky Mountain Group provided structural engineering for The Broadmoor Hotel’s Cloud Camp, the latest addition to the five-star resort’s “wilderness experience” theme, located at 9,200 ft on the top of Cheyenne Mountain. The project included new cabins, a lodge and fire tower cabin and incorporated foundations and cement walls from the Broadmoor’s original 1926 lodge and fire tower into the new structures.

Other Awards

Honor Awards were presented to Merrick & Co. for Calumet Montana Refining Crude Unit #2, Tsiouvaras Simmons Holderness Inc. for Boulder Junction Transportation Improvements, and Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. for the city of Westminster’s Lowell Boulevard Waterline Rehabilitation Project.

Receiving Merit Awards were Shaffer Beaucom Engineering & Consulting for Redefining Possible: Engineering the Craig Way, Craig Hospital Renovation; The RMH Group Inc. for Breckenridge Brewery and Farm House Restaurant; Hatch Mott MacDonald for the city of Westminster’s Standley Lake Raw Water Bypass; and Engineering Analytics for Georgetown Lake Outlet Improvements.

“Engineering innovations are transforming communities, rehabilitating urban brownfields with relevant purpose and preparing our state’s infrastructure to manage the unprecedented growth that Colorado is currently experiencing,” said Marvinetta Hartwig, ACEC Colorado 2015-16 president.