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Best of Idaho construction recognized at 2019 Top Projects awards

The interior of the Historic Elks Lodge in Twin Falls, the 2019 Top Project of the Year. Photo courtesy of HC Company Inc.

MERIDIAN — An innovative renovation project in Twin Falls was revealed as the Top Project of the Year at the Idaho Business Review’s 15th annual Top Projects awards on Sept. 19.

The Historic Elks Lodge, built in 1922, received the evening’s highest honor and was also named the People’s Choice winner in the renovation category during the program at the Galaxy Event Center.

More than 200 people attended this year’s celebration, which honored construction projects substantially completed in 2018 in Idaho. The more-than-20 awardees came from around the state in projects among categories including renovations, infrastructure and utility, transportation, public projects and private projects. Guests included a wide variety of contractors and building professionals who worked on each project, as well as friends and family members.

Top Projects also includes a “People’s Choice” award in each category, voted on by attendees.

HC Co. claims Top Project award

Representatives of the Elks Lodge Renovation team join Idaho Business Review Publisher Cindy Suffa, left, and Special Sections Editor Rebecca Palmer, right, on stage to accept their award for Top Project of the year at a ceremony held Sept. 19 and Galaxy Events Center. Photo by Pete Grady Photography.

“There were a lot of tears in this one and a lot of art,” said Jeremy Barber, project manager for HC Company Inc., general contractor for the Historic Elks Lodge project. The company needed to obtain the original hand-drawn plans, dating to the early 1900s, from the local library to ensure that all the potential structural issues in the project were addressed, as well as meet code requirements.

“Blood, sweat and tears,” in various combinations, were common themes among the first-place honorees, who each spoke for a few minutes. For example, for the US-12 Tumble Creek and US-12 Warm Springs project, which won first place in transportation, attendees learned that the project was not only 50 miles away from the plant site, but that cell phone service was not available. Consequently, workers from Knife River Corp. had to resort to sending messages by driving them over.

While projects in the first few years of the award had been judged primarily on their cost, in recent years prizes were awarded based on more nuance, said Idaho Business Review publisher Cindy Suffa. Each project is now judged on how well it fulfilled its intended use, the challenges and obstacles that were overcome, whether the project finished on time and within the budget and on its overall quality, she said.

A story about each winning project was published in a special companion magazine that was distributed at the awards event. It is available for free online.

The Idaho Business Review received dozens of applications for the honor, which recognizes projects that were built in Idaho, substantially completed in 2018 and valued at more than $1 million in construction costs.

Nominations are open for the 2020 Top Projects awards. Wayne Hammon, CEO of the Associated General Contractors and a member of the judging panel, encouraged contractors to apply and to be sure to describe the story of the construction, including what problems were overcome.

2019 Top Projects Winners

Project of the Year: Elks Lodge Renovation


First: Renaissance High School

Second: Timberline High School

Third: Boys and Girls Club Kitchen

Honorable Mention: Northgate Shopping Center


First: Phase II Wastewater Treatment Plan

Second: Ada County Landfill, North Ravine Cell Stage 3

Third: Indian Creek Plaza

Honorable Mention: City of Caldwell Wastewater Treatment Plant


First: US-12 Tumble Creek and US-12 Warm Springs

Second: Manning Crevice Bridge Replacement

Third: Williams Creek Bridge Replacement

Honorable Mention: I-84 Karcher to Franklin


First: Idaho State Museum

Second: Fire Training Center

Third: William J. Maeck Education Center


First: Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine

Second: South Meridian YMCA

Third: Micron B37

Honorable Mention: Albertsons 1099

People’s Choice

Infrastructure/Utility: Indian Creek Plaza

Renovation: Elks Lodge

Transportation: Manning Crevice Bridge Replacement

Public: Idaho State Museum

Private: Galaxy Event Center

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