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Top Projects 2019: Public Projects

Idaho State Museum

At a special awards event held on Thursday, Sept. 19, the project was awarded First Place in the Public Projects category by the Idaho Business Review. The publication is available for free download.

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The project consisted of 15,700 square feet of new space and a 28,000-square-foot remodel of existing space. The facility’s entire infrastructure was removed and rebuilt to allow the museum to meet modern demands.

Careful coordination was required to preserve the historical aspects of the building while moving the agency forward with its new goals and desires. Original details such as the main 1940s entry was preserved and given enhanced visibility. The design includes greatly expanded exhibit space, including space for major traveling exhibits, enlarged lobby and retail areas and event capabilities. Interior remodeling and additional program spaces provide enhanced opportunities for learning by one of the museum’s primary audiences: school children.

The construction budget for this project was limited, and the design team made every effort to provide a world class museum while staying within budget. Special attention was given to the quality of materials and use of local products. The CMU exterior was produced in Meridian by Basalite, the sandstone used as the accent material for the exterior of the building is from Borbonus, quarried in Idaho, and the lobby desk is Idaho Travertine from Eastern Idaho.

All infrastructure had to be carefully reviewed in order to meet the needs of a modern museum and to provide space for traveling exhibits. These exhibits could possibly come from the Smithsonian collections, and the mechanical and electrical parameters were extremely strict for power, ventilation, temperature control and humidity. The collaboration between the building construction A&E team and the exhibit designers and installers was also extremely important, and meetings were held bi-monthly to ensure that there was a flawless transition from building construction to exhibit installation.

The final product is a beautiful building that will stand the test of time and age well in one of Idaho’s greatest city parks. Over 100 designers, artisans and craftspeople contributed to the project in order to display over 80,000 square feet of exhibit surface area.

The agency saw a dramatic increase in visitors and positive feedback in a building that gives back to the people of Idaho.

Fire Training Center

The project was awarded Second Place in the Public Projects category by the Idaho Business Review.

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The Boise Fire Training Center is the most advanced training facility in the region. Firefighters come from all over the Western U.S. to train in Boise. The campus is set on 17 acres with a total of 25 acres for future expansion of more training buildings. Phase 1 consisted of an administration and classroom building, a training and safety building, a single-family residential burn building and a five-story commercial tower.

Each structure plays an important role in training firefighters, and special care went into the commercial tower and residence. The residence was created to simulate a real house fire in a two-story home with multiple bedrooms. The tower simulates a hotel lobby, retail shops, warehouse space, offices, hotel rooms with balconies and apartments.

Trainers can change egress pathways so that each training has different ways to access the various rooms and levels, ensuring the firefighters are not training the same environment every time, and the building has stairs and tie off points to train firefighters in rappelling to the lower levels from the roof and balcony levels.

The team overcame challenges with flooding and finished on time and under budget.

William J. Maeck Education Center

The project was awarded Third Place in the Public Projects category by the Idaho Business Review.

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This project replaced the education center at the Idaho Falls Zoo with a new, 4,400-square-foot center equipped with three classrooms, office space, bathrooms and a kitchenette. It was designed to tie in with the adjacent buildings within the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park while using materials that tie into its natural surroundings. The main entry wall of the facility is constructed of dark cultured stone, and the entrance canopies are constructed with large wood timbers that blend with the region’s forested mountains and the adjacent historic log cabins. The building’s large entrance stone walls are faced with backlit Zoo logos, and large aluminum entrance storefront doors and windows on the exterior of the facility allow natural light to shine into the building. The interior colors and finishes were also selected carefully.

The goal of the design was to bring the outside natural beauty in and carry it throughout the space. With classes and courses for visitors of all ages, as well as summer camps and other events for children, the zoo’s ambition of the William J. Maeck Education Center is to be the main hub for conservation education in eastern Idaho.

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