Cedars Housing & Mixed-Use Development
Rexburg, Idaho
Best Project

Owner: Hemming Development
Lead Design Firm: Method Studio Inc.
General Contractor: Headwaters Construction
Structural Engineer: CKR Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Eagle Rock Engineering and Land Surveying
MEP Engineer: Engineered Systems Associates Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Payne Engineering

This student housing development at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus was one of the largest construction projects in the growing college town of Rexburg. It was built by a hometown team that included many smaller, locally based trade partners. Idaho-based Headwaters Construction served as the general contractor for Idaho-based developer Hemming Development.

Design for the five-story, 450-bed Cedars dormitory was led by Method Studio of Salt Lake City. The design aimed to honor the religious standards of BYU while introducing industrial elements to express a natural and more modern look. 

The facility provides housing for female students on the BYU campus, and the design incorporates branding targeted for that group. Bold murals depict women in action: rock climbing, skydiving, fly fishing or skiing, accompanied by inspirational quotes, all with a goal to demonstrate the strength and abilities of women.

Residents are encouraged to interact with one another in spaces such as the courtyard, which contains outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and lounge seating. A hammock garden with party lights and hot tubs complete the amenity-rich gathering space. Messages of inspiration can be shared at the entry to the units on a “chalkboard” wall. 

Rising construction costs in the area presented an immediate challenge to project delivery and the $28-million budget, so the design and construction teams worked together to maximize opportunities for project savings.

When cedar finishes specified for both the interior and exterior became cost prohibitive, the design team worked with the supplier, Boral, to create a new product at a lower cost that provided the same look as cedar but with more durability.

The team from Headwaters worked “hands-on” with local trade partners to develop custom solutions that shaved additional costs from the budget.

By working closely with the design team and local trades, the team also implemented custom furniture that resulted in a 40% savings within the project’s furniture and fixtures budget.

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