Southeast Construction magazine recently announced the winners of its Best Of 2009 awards program. The annual competition recognizes construction and design excellence in the four-state region of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. This year’s competition received a record-breaking number of entries. Nearly 200 submissions vied for top honors in approximately 20 different categories, based on construction type. (Click here for the press release and full list of winners.)

As always, an
independent jury of industry experts reviewed and scored the entries, and met in September at McGraw-Hill offices to finalize this year’s winners. Eligible projects had to be located within the four-state region and completed between Sept. 1, 2008, and Sept. 1, 2009. To clarify further, “Best Of” awards were given to the top entry in a category. The “Awards of Excellence” were given to projects that the judges deemed to be especially worthy of recognition.

This year's Best Of competition included a few notable changes from past years, all of which were aimed at improving the process for both entrants and judges alike. For instance, for the first time ever, all submissions were processed through an online system. Apparently this helped the submitters, as the total number of entries soared past any of our past year's totals, to approximately 200.

The online process also enabled the judges to review all entries before meeting with their jury peers. Once they all met at McGraw-Hill offices in Orlando in late September, winning entries were picked on a consensus basis. Also, judges had the authority to assign as many, or as few, winners in a category as they liked. And, as always, the juries had final say, with no members of the magazine's staff having any votes. (I oversaw the judging process and moderated their discussions.)

Also, three new “special” awards were added to this year’s
competition. They are for: Best Architectural Design, Best Engineering Design, and Best Project Management. These were assigned from all of this year's entries, based upon the scores these projects gathered in the respective criteria of architectural/engineering design or project management. So, here's a quick view of the top winners in each category. For a complete list of all of this year's winners, click here.

Judges Award (for best overall project) - Pine Jog Elementary School and FAU/Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, West Palm Beach, Fla.; submitted by Pirtle Construction Co., Davie, Fla.

Best Architectural Design - The Inspiration Networks City of Light Corporate Campus, Indian Land, S.C.: submitted by BE&K Building Group; architect: Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

Best Engineering Design - Gordon River Water Quality Park, Naples, Fla.; submitted by Kraft Construction Co.; engineer: CH2M Hill

Best Project Management (tie) -
 The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park, Columbus, Ga.; submitted by Batson-Cook Co.

Best Project Management (tie) -
 Georgia Institute of Technology, Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Atlanta; submitted by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Best Civil/Public Works
- Dames Point Terminal, Jacksonville, Fla.; submitted by W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co.

Best Cultural - The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park, Columbus, Ga.; submitted by Batson-Cook Construction

Best Government/Public Project (tie) - Naval Facilities Engineering Command SE – New Engineering Operations Center, Jacksonville, Fla.; submitted by Haskell

Best Government/Public Project (tie) - Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, N.C.; submitted by tvsdesign

Best Green Building - Pine Jog Elementary School and FAU/Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, West Palm Beach, Fla.; submitted by Pirtle Construction Co.

Best Health Care Project - Randolph Hospital Outpatient and Cancer Center, Asheboro, N.C.; submitted by BE&K Building Group

Best Higher Education/Research Project - Scripps Florida, Jupiter, Fla; submitted by Weitz/DPR a Joint Venture

Best Industrial - RoboVault, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; general contractor: Miller Construction Co.

Best K-12 Education Project - Cherokee Central Schools Building Program, Cherokee, N.C.; submitted by BE&K Building Group.

Best Multifamily Residential/Hospitality, over $100 million - The Brookwood, Atlanta:; submitted by R.J. Griffin & Co.

Best Multi-Family Residential/Hospitality, under $100 million - Sustainable Fellwood, Savannah, Ga.; submitted by Catamount Constructors

Best Office - The Inspiration Networks City of Light Corporate Campus, Indian Land, S.C.; submitted by BE&K Building Group

Best Renovation/Restoration (tie) - Orion Space Capsule Operations & Checkout Building, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; submitted by Hensel Phelps Construction

Best Renovation/Restoration (tie) - North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.; submitted by Balfour Beatty Construction

Best Retail - SODO, (South of Downtown Orlando), Orlando; submitted by Hoar Construction

Best Small Project - Shirley Clements Mewborn Field, Atlanta; submitted by Barton-Malow Co.

Best Specialty Contracting Project - The University of Miami Central Energy Plant and Parking Garage, Miami; submitted by John J. Kirlin

Best Sports/Recreation - Manta Attraction at Sea World, Orlando; submitted by Wharton-Smith

Best Transportation - Reconstruction of U.S. 1/State Road 5 and the Jewfish Creek Bridge, Key Largo, Fla; submitted by Parsons Brinckerhoff

Best Worship - Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Campus Addition and Renovation, Atlanta; submitted by New South Construction Co.

As always, all winning projects will be featured in the December 2009 issue of  Southeast Construction and will be honored at a luncheon to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando on Dec. 9. Also, as was the case last year, the top winners in each category will be entered into a national Best Of The Best competition, where they'll be judged against projects from other regions of the country. Winning projects from this national competition will be highlighted in a future issue of Engineering News-Record.

Again, for a list of all of this year's Best Of 2009 winners - there are approximately 60 in all - click here for the downloadable press release.

I'll provide you with more details about this year's top winner, along with some background on the judging process, in the near future.

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