The upcoming April 25 issue of ENR Mountain States offers readers a couple of features they’ve seen in past issues of Mountain States Construction and a new one for this year: Top Project Starts across the region.

First, you’ll see the return this year of an annual reader favorite, a profile on our Owners of the Year, which for 2010 are the Denver Housing Authority for our Colorado readers and the University of Utah for the Intermountain side.

The University of Utah was chosen because it is beating the odds when it comes to campus construction and funding. U of U has at least three major projects under way now, including the Specialty Care Center at Daybreak, the Hospital Neuropsychiatric Institute Addition and the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Research Buidling. All are $40-million-plus projects and will make significant impacts to the university's teaching and research mission. While there are several strong university and college projects in Utah now, none carry the weight of these three. U of U is obviously doing many things right.

The DHA was selected for recognition based on suggestions from readers and was also the unanimous choice of our editorial team.

DHA has made big strides in the past year in obtaining federal grants to build affordable housing near transit lines and has partnered successfully with municipalities and other entities such as Denver’s Regional Transportation District.

“Transformation is the key word at DHA,” said Executive Director Ismael Guerrero at a groundbreaking last fall for the association’s South Lincoln Park project in central Denver. “We are helping to transform an economically distressed community into one that’s integrated, healthy and vibrant.” Construction on phase one of the South Lincoln project is well under way, with a bid announcement about phase two expected before the end of March. The DHA’s South Lincoln project not only attracted $10 million in federal stimulus money, it was also named one of the top 100 ARRA-funded projects around the country based on sustainability and potential economic impact.

DHA’s targeting of diverse, mixed-income projects near transit lines is creating jobs and has “become a national model for how to build sustainable communities,” says U.S. Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.). Be sure to read the upcoming story by writer Kimberly M. Graham to learn about the many things that DHA is doing right.

And here’s a new one for our readers this year: Top Starts of 2010. In the past, we have featured a list of the top completed projects from the previous year in various categories, but not a sole focus on biggest starts across the region. The April issue will list the largest project starts, ranked by dollar volume as submitted by the firms who are working on them.

We can’t give away the entire list here or how the individual projects are ranked but a preview of the key new projects of 2010 includes highway and bridge projects from the Utah Dept. of Transportation such as I-15 CORE and Mountain View Corridor in Western Salt Lake County, infrastructure work at Denver’s Union Station to transform it into a regional transit hub, and the Provo Reservoir Canal Enclosure.

Several university and health-care projects are on the list, from Utah State University’s USTAR and its College of Agriculture to the University of Utah’s L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Research Building and its Specialty Care Center at Daybreak, Utah Valley University’s Pope Science Building Addition, Salt Lake Community College’s Center for New Media, and the East Tower addition and renovations to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colo., and Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Student Success Center.

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne made the list, but the new Cyber Security Center in Utah (often referred to as the Utah Data Center) was not included, since it officially broke ground in January of this year and therefore is not considered a 2010 start.

Commercial work, as expected, did not figure strongly into the list, with the exception of the Residences at 29th Street in Boulder, Merit Medical Systems New Production Building and the Utah County Convention Center.

The list also includes a handful of federal projects at regional military bases.

The entire list, in ranked order, offers a good snapshot of the current industry across the region. Stay tuned, as we reveal it in its entirety, along with feature stories on energy and environmental projects, in the April issue of ENR Mountain States.

As always, thanks for reading.