ENR Mountain States magazine previously announced our 2016 Best Projects award winners (see editor’s blog on this website). Now, after tabulating final results and polling our judges, we are ready to announce the finalists for Project of the Year in both the Intermountain area (Utah, Idaho and Montana) and Colorado/Wyoming & the Plains States—Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas.

The voting for Project of the Year was close, as always, but a handful of projects emerged as front runners. To be considered for this honor, a project had to be a winner (first place) in its individual category and receive a first-place vote from more than one judge and at least two second-place votes from others.

The winners of this award will be announced at the Best Projects breakfast award ceremonies in Salt Lake City (Oct. 25) and in Denver (Oct. 27). Here are the finalists in alphabetical (not ranked) order.


Colorado/Wyoming & Plains States Project of the Year Finalists

Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center, Denver

  • First-place winner in the Airport/Transit category, entry submitted by MHS (Mortenson Hunt Saunders) Triventure and Gensler
  • Owner: Denver International Airport
  • Completion: Nov. 2015

The DIA project includes three key elements: a 519-room Westin hotel and conference center; a 82,000-sq-ft, open-air plaza; and a public transit center that connects commuter rail and busses to the airport. They comprise a single, integrated project that abuts the airport’s Jeppesen Terminal.

The transit center connects the airport to downtown Denver via the Regional Transportation District’s University of Colorado A Line. The open-air plaza is designed to host outdoor activities and community events and features a kinetic art installation by artist Ned Kahn that is inspired by native prairie grasses.

Southern Delivery System Program, Colorado Springs

  • First-place winner in the Water/Environment category, entry submitted by MWH Americas Inc.
  • Owner: Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Lead Design: CH2M Hill (Pipeline Work)
  • Completion: April 2016

The Southern Delivery System is an $825-million regional project that conveys Arkansas River water stored in Pueblo Reservoir to the city of Colorado Springs, the city of Fountain, Security Water District and Pueblo West Metropolitan District. Phase 1 of the multi-phase project began operation on April 28, 2016, and includes all of the components necessary to deliver water to the partner communities.

SDS is the largest-single infrastructure project undertaken by Colorado Springs Utilities in its history. After nearly 15 years of planning, engineering and construction, SDS finished on schedule and more than $160 million under budget.

University of Kansas Capitol Federal Hall, Lawrence, Kan.

  • First-place winner in the Higher Ed/Research category, entry submitted by Gensler
  • Owner: University of Kansas School of Business
  • Contractor: JE Dunn Construction
  • Completion: May 2016

The new 167,000-sq-ft Capitol Federal Hall houses KU’s school of business. It rises four floors above grade and is clad in precast concrete, weathered steel and high-performance glazing. The centerpiece of the project is a four-story atrium with a sculptural stair that serves as the building’s primary means of circulation.

A 350-seat auditorium was built to serve as a tornado shelter that can hold the building’s entire population. The structure was clad in weathered-steel and covered with a planted red-sedum roof, a nod to the university’s long-standing tradition of topping buildings with red roofs.

Intermountain Area’s Project of the Year Finalists

Provo City Center Temple, Provo, Utah

  • First-place winner in the Renovation/Restoration category, entry submitted by Jacobsen Construction
  • Owner: LDS Church
  • Architect: FFKR Architects
  • Completion: Oct. 2015

After a four-alarm fire gutted the building in 2010, LDS church leaders decided to transform the Provo Tabernacle into the Provo City Center Temple. It became a fast-track project with multiple bid packages.

Preserving the building’s 3,400-ton exterior was critical to the transformation and required significant innovation throughout construction, including placing the structure on 90-ft-high piles to begin construction in the basement.

The Summit at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Snowbird, Utah

  • First-place winner in the Specialty Construction category, entry submitted by Layton Construction Co.
  • Owner: Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
  • Architect: GSBS Architects
  • Completion: Nov. 2015

The Summit is a 23,000-sq-ft guest-services building and mountain restaurant located at 11,000 ft at the top of Hidden Peak. The restaurant facilities have dramatically improved the guest experience at the top of the mountain. The building has three levels, with dining and kitchen facilities, employee spaces and mechanical systems at the basement level.

The first floor includes the main dining hall with 190 seats, a cafeteria, kitchen storage and service areas, restrooms and an outdoor deck. The second floor is a private dining area with 180 seats, reception and service areas and two outdoor decks. Work took place over two summer seasons because of the limited mountain construction time.

Traeger Wood Fired Grills Corporate Office, Salt Lake City

  • First-place winner in the Interior/Tenant Improvement category, entry submitted by Method Studio Inc.
  • Owner: Traeger Wood Fired Grills
  • Contractor: Layton Interior Construction Specialists
  • Completion: Oct. 2015

Traeger wanted to be able to use an outdoor grill while filming cooking demonstrations in a kitchen located inside the building. But the space was designed for offices, not a robust working kitchen—especially one that involved grill smoke.

The project team worked with local municipalities to find a solution that would provide adequate infrastructure for exhaust and grease management so that grilling indoors could be a reality. The scope also included a larger outdoor patio that extended to the opposite roof, adding an additional 2,226 sq ft of space.

Project of the Year winners will be announced at their respective Regional Best Projects Awards events in Salt Lake City (Oct. 25) and Denver (Oct. 27). Please plan to join us for the celebrations.

Information and registration for the Best Projects events is available at: www.enrbestprojectsawards.com/