Under Construction

Under Construction: Top Facility Projects of February 2023

Facilities Management Advisor’s “Under Construction” series highlights some of the latest, most interesting facility project announcements every month.

New Museum Under Lincoln Memorial

The National Park Service (NPS) is kicking off a public-private project to add an immersive museum beneath the Lincoln Memorial and other upgrades at the historical landmark. Fittingly enough, the NPS made the announcement on Presidents’ Day during Black History Month.

Courtesy: NPS

Organizations: NPS, National Park Foundation, and various donors
Location: Washington, D.C.
Type of project: New build
Size: 15,000 square feet of exhibit space
Estimated cost: ~$69 million
Status: Construction slated for March
Expected completion: 2026

Interesting tidbit: To be built in a cavernous foundation area beneath the Lincoln Memorial known as the undercroft, the museum will provide a look at a “dramatic architectural feature” that has been “long hidden from public view.” New exhibits and multi-media presentations will highlight the construction history of the Lincoln Memorial and discuss how the site has become the nation’s foremost backdrop for civil rights demonstrations. The project also includes new restrooms, a larger bookstore, and a refurbished elevator to the chamber level of the memorial.

Quote: David M. Rubenstein, a financier and philanthropist who donated $18.5 million for the project, said, “Improving the visitor experience at the Lincoln Memorial is vitally important to connecting Americans to the rich history of our country: the triumphs, the failures, and the lessons learned.”

More details available here.

Student Housing Expansion

Responding to student need for more housing options, Utah Tech University has broken ground on the third and final phase of its on-campus student housing complex, Campus View Suites. The new Campus View Suites III will include a fitness room, a multipurpose room, laundry facilities on each floor, indoor bike storage, housing staff offices, a grocery store, a game room, large common kitchens, and private and shared study rooms.

Courtesy: Utah Tech University

Organization: Utah Tech University
Location: St. George, Utah
Type of project: New build
Size: 164,600 square feet
Estimated cost: N/A
Design-build team: Method Studio and Layton Construction
Status: Ground broken Feb. 9
Expected completion: Fall 2024 semester

Interesting tidbit: This new phase is the university’s third student housing facility project in just eight years and will add 564 beds. Campus View Suites I added 352 beds in fall 2016, while the second phase of the facility became home to 534 students in fall 2021.

Quote: Jon Gibb, director of facilities planning and construction, said his team is excited to work on the project. He added that Campus View Suites III “will be exactly what you’d want in campus living.”

More details available here.

Upgrades at Yale Center for British Art 

The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA), which houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, has closed to the public to begin the next phase of conservation of its iconic modernist building, designed by acclaimed American architect Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974).

Courtesy: YCBA/Richard Caspole

Organization: YCBA
Location: New Haven, Conn.
Type of project: Renovations
Size: ~114,000 square feet
Estimated cost: N/A
Design-build team: EwingCole, Knight Architecture, Turner Construction Co., et al.
Status: Doors closed Feb. 27
Expected completion: 2024

Interesting tidbit: YCBA’s skylights and gallery lighting are original to the building, which opened in 1977. The project will replace over 200 domed Plexiglas skylights to fortify and enhance the building’s signature rooftop, a feature Kahn referred to as the “fifth elevation.” The museum will also upgrade its gallery lighting system from halogen bulbs to LED technology to slash energy consumption.

Quote: YCBA Director Courtney J. Martin said, “As the museum approaches its fiftieth anniversary in 2027, we have begun to consider how to address the building’s infrastructure and overall sustainability. These improvements serve as a symbol of our commitment to the future of our landmark building and will help safeguard our collections for generations to come.”

More details available here.

Green Garage for Zero-Emission Bus Fleet

As the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) works toward ditching diesel buses, it is giving one of its shutdown garages a green makeover. The agency is rebuilding the century-old Northern Bus Garage into a modern, LEED-certified facility that will house an all-electric bus fleet when it opens. The new facility will maintain the building’s historic façade, while adding charging infrastructure, retail space, streetscape improvements, and a community room for local meetings.

Courtesy: WMATA

Organization: WMATA
Location: Washington, D.C.
Type of project: Rebuild
Size: Capacity for up to 150 buses
Estimated cost: N/A; partial funding from Federal Transit Administration
Status: Ground broken Jan. 25
Expected completion: 2027

Interesting tidbit: WMATA also announced the purchase of 12 electric buses to operate for its pilot program, and more green facility projects are in the works. In 2021, the agency’s board of directors adopted goals to transition to all zero-emission buses by 2045, which aligns with the 2018 Clean Energy DC Act.

Quote: Randy Clarke, general manager and CEO of WMATA, said, “This is just the start of our investment to bring zero-emission technology to #YourMetro as we replace fossil fuels with clean technology that will power our fleet of 1,600 buses.”

More details available here.

Casino-Adjacent Water Park Resort

If visiting one of the largest casinos in North America isn’t entertaining enough, how about going next door to slip and slide at a new indoor water park?! Great Wolf Resorts Inc. has partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to build the Great Wolf Lodge in Connecticut. The 549-room resort will be located adjacent to the tribe-owned Foxwoods Resort Casino and will feature a 91,000 square-foot indoor water park and a 61,000 square-foot family entertainment center.

Courtesy: Great Wolf Resorts

Organizations: Great Wolf Resorts Inc. (shareholders Blackstone and Centerbridge Partners) and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation/Foxwoods Resort Casino
Location: Mashantucket, Conn.
Type of project: New build
Size: 13 acres
Estimated cost: $300 million
Status: Ground broken Feb. 1
Expected completion: Mid-2025

Interesting tidbit: Great Wolf Resorts Inc. owns and operates over 20 indoor water park resorts. As part of the company’s environmental initiative, Project Green Wolf, this new Great Wolf Lodge will feature a number of energy and water conservation measures, such as energy-saving LED lighting and special water filters to reduce consumption.

Quote: Jason Guyot, Foxwoods Resort Casino’s president and CEO, said, “This project with Great Wolf Lodge marks another milestone for us as we continue to trailblaze in the guest experience, and we couldn’t be more proud to bring this family-friendly experience to the area.”

More details available here.

Honorable Mentions

Do you have a major project announcement you’d like considered for the “Under Construction” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com.

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