Little America Hotel Multi-Phase Remodel
Best Project and Project of the Year Finalist
Owner/Developer: Grand America Hotel and Resorts
Lead Design Firm, Structural Engineer: Ruscitto Latham Blanton
General Contractor: Loven Contracting
MEP Engineer: Neilson Engineering
Subcontractors: Paul Stoops Associates; Frank Nicholson; Denton House Design Studio; Another Plumbing Co.; Joe Dirt; Goodman Electric; River Woods Mill; Haci Mechanical; Alliance Fire; BZ Painting; Western Tech; Masterpiece Mill; Twin Peaks Glass
Located in Flagstaff, Ariz., this 224,458-sq-ft hotel remodel was completed in May 2018. Work included renovation of all ballrooms, meeting rooms, the reception lobby, restaurant and banquet kitchen, restrooms and administration offices. Crews built an outdoor dining terrace, replaced the roof, remodeled 250 guest rooms, installed fire sprinkler systems and fire lines, and replaced HVAC equipment and sewer lines in all buildings. To ensure ADA compliance, crews added new elevators and more accessible entrance areas, public restrooms and guest rooms.
One of the most challenging tasks was installation of new sewer lines in the hallways of each building. Kevin Bond, project manager at Loven Contracting, says the team used a miniature excavator and a miniature dump truck to create the 4-ft to 8-ft trenches for the sewer line. To reduce carbon monoxide risks, exhaust scrubbers were installed on the equipment and carbon monoxide sensors were placed at designated intervals on both floors of the lodge.
Bond adds that during trenching activities on the first floor, other trades began work on the upper floor. As portions of the trenching were completed, he says, the openings were covered with steel plates to allow tradespeople to do their work.
“It was essential to maintain awareness of trade activities in each room in order to not prematurely cover essential mechanical connections,” Bond says.
Another challenge was maintaining food service while the kitchen was remodeled. Bond says this was especially important during Mother’s Day brunch, a tradition for many people in Northern Arizona. “Our team constructed a temporary kitchen in one of the meeting rooms and a temporary restaurant space in the last ballroom requiring remodel,” he says. Access between the spaces was provided via an enclosed temporary hallway. After the kitchen remodel was complete, the temporary facilities were removed and the spaces were completed during the last phase of work in the lodge.
During inspection, Bond says crews discovered an Arizona Public Service primary distribution system for the city of Flagstaff located in the basement of the lodge. It included live, exposed bus ducts. The team built plexiglass enclosures for the electrical infrastructure to mitigate any danger to workers and reduce the risk of power outages over a wide area in the case of mishap.
Hot water and heating service for the lodge had been provided by two boilers located in the basement since 1971, prior to construction of the building. Instead of tearing all the equipment out and replacing it, crews rebuilt the boilers in sequence to maintain hot water and heating throughout the winter.
Despite the many unforeseen events, the project had no OSHA-recordable incidents in more than 100,000 work hours, says Mike Loven, president of Loven Contracting. Bond adds that jobsite safety became more challenging because of the many owner-preferred subcontractors who were not familiar with Loven Contracting’s safety program. To speed up the process, the team conducted intensive safety orientations, followed by daily safety inspections. Contractors and owner’s representatives also walked the site each week to address concerns.