The Building Contractors Association of Northeast Indiana (BCA) and Irving Materials Inc. (IMI) teamed up for the 2022 BCA IMI Excellence in Construction Awards. This program recognizes outstanding commercial construction projects completed in 2021 within a 75-mile radius of Fort Wayne. This year marks the 19th annual awards presentation.
Awards were given in five categories: Specialty, Under $1 Million, $1 Million to $5 Million, $5 Million to $12 Million, and over $12 Million. A panel of industry experts evaluated projects based on a weighted scale for uniqueness, significance/impact to the community, job safety record, and BCA member involvement. The following projects took first place in each of the respective categories.
City of Fort Wayne – St. Joe Center and Wheelock Road Trail
The City of Fort Wayne St. Joe Center and Wheelock Road Trail project submitted by API Construction Corp. took top honors in the Specialty category. API was the general contractor for the project.
Through an investment of nearly $1 million in mostly public dollars, the construction of over 1.3 miles of 10 feet wide asphalt pedestrian trails were made possible. The initial 4,900 feet of trail project began in late 2020 and was completed in the spring of 2021 – nearly $150,000 under the original contract amount.
As a result, API was asked by the City of Fort Wayne to provide design-build services and construct another 2,200 feet of pedestrian trail with storm, landscaping, and ADA improvements, utilizing the remaining $150,000. The expanded trail was complete in the summer of 2021.
Included in this construction were over 1,200 feet of storm piping, new pedestrian traffic signaling, new pavement markings, new seeding and sodding, and new ADA-accessible and compliant ramps and crossings. All hot-mix asphalt products were produced locally at API Construction’s Huntertown Asphalt Plant #1 using all local and native materials.
This project provides safe and direct access to two schools, a large shopping center off Maysville Road, and three large neighboring housing communities. It also alleviated flooding issues for the public and property owners in this area.
Community Foundation of Wabash County
The Community Foundation of Wabash County received the project award for Under $1 Million, submitted by Michael Kinder & Sons (MKS) and Design Collaborative. MKS served as Design-Builder for the project, and Design Collaborative was the architect.
This renovation project was for a small part of a complete restoration of the 13,400-square-foot historical Strauss building in downtown North Manchester. The building had been damaged by fire and left unusable for years. The Strauss family provided the lower 3,400 square feet for the Wabash Community Foundation offices and board room.
The $480,000 renovation was completed in July 2021. The design team delivered a balanced aesthetic connecting a rich history with progression and growth, creating a space to draw in the community and spark curiosity while still feeling inclusive and approachable.
LC Nature Park
The LC Nature Park, located in Roanoke, Indiana, won the $1 Million to $5 Million category. The Hagerman Group served as the general contractor, and MartinRiley was the architect for the project.
LC Nature Park is 200 acres dedicated to preserving and restoring Indiana’s natural flora and fauna. The central nature center for the park is a renovated late 1890s barn. During the renovation, the barn was lifted off its original foundation. New footings were poured, walls constructed, and slab poured under the existing barn, then it was lowered down into place. Insulation panels were installed.
New siding was added on the exterior, along with large storefront windows, roll-up glass doors, an accordion-style door, and a wraparound deck with custom cedar and metal handrailing.
The barn’s interior features a new instructional kitchen, wide-plank flooring, a loft with custom handrailing, a wheelchair lift, and restrooms. The client’s goal was for the new barn to mimic the original as much as possible while bringing it up to modern standards, including all new lighting and in-floor heating.
LC Nature Park is growing into a hub for environmental and cultural learning focused on Indiana’s wildlife. With diverse ecosystems within its boundaries, including grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, LC Nature Park is becoming a self-sustaining environment for the animals that call it home.
Through an abundance of educational programs and events, people of all ages can immerse themselves in the natural landscape and learn its secrets. Cultivating relationships with local educators will help the park become a field trip destination. Additionally, a growing volunteer program will ensure that LC Nature Park’s vision to promote Indiana’s ecosystems will last for generations to come.
Sweetwater Music Store
Taking top honors in the category of $5 Million to $12 Million is the Sweetwater Music Store located off U.S. 30 in Fort Wayne. Design Collaborative was the architect and Weigand Construction was the general contractor for the project.
When Sweetwater’s new Distribution Center was built and the old warehouse became available, the team was presented with an existing pre-engineered space. The challenge was to incorporate several different Sweetwater projects – one of which was the Music Store – into this pre-engineered space by splitting it into two additional floors. Pre-engineered steel is typically designed to stringent tolerances and cannot take any extra load, so adding two new floors was an unusual challenge.
There was also a rapid schedule and a large team, including the Sweetwater owner, Sweetwater architects, store consultant, acoustics consultant, lighting designer, MEP firm, a structural engineering firm, construction manager, and many subcontractor consultants. The level of communication among everyone needed to be efficient and accurate. Everyone came together to find the best, most cost-effective solution for both the employees and the customers.
Another challenging aspect of the project was that Sweetwater wanted to keep its operations running throughout the entire project, so the original Sweetwater Music Store stayed open and functional until they moved into the new space. As a result, the team had to be innovative in the design, schedule phasing, and construction methods to keep things open the entire time.
The Sweetwater Music Store was complete in June 2021. With 38,000 square feet of top gear on-site, Sweetwater Sound’s store is the largest music store in the United States. The long, narrow nature of the store divides into merchandise realms with architectural design elements reinforcing the type of instrument on display.
These unique elements draw customers through the space while letting the display product take center stage. Additionally, customers can utilize digital warehousing technology while shopping and have items delivered in real-time with an inventory shuttle service.
The Sweetwater Music Store was driven by the owner’s passion for Fort Wayne and the entire team’s herculean efforts to make this space functional and flourishing, ultimately making it customer-first.
Josiah White’s Compass Rose Academy
Josiah White’s Compass Rose Academy in Wabash, Indiana, won in the Over $12 Million category. Michael Kinder & Sons (MKS) and MKM architecture + design teamed up with Josiah White’s to construct the new campus, Compass Rose Academy. MKS served as the design-builder, and MKM was the architect for the project located in a serene, rural setting. This $12.1 million, 53,300-square-foot facility, comprised of eight buildings, is part of an expansion to their range of services.
Compass Rose works tirelessly to provide hope for 14-to 18-year-old girls in crisis through services that challenge them to live lives of character, stability, and service. The vision for the new campus was clear from the beginning. The goal was to transform an existing cornfield into a vibrant and welcoming campus that could provide residents with a sense of hope. The site was specifically organized around a series of planning principles that focused on emotional connectivity and social interaction to leverage the interior and exterior spaces as part of the therapeutic experience.
While the school and clinic were positioned to the eastern edge of the site to welcome the incoming public, the structure also shields the residential buildings to the west – segmenting them into a collection of shared households organized in a radial pattern symmetrically surrounding a central commons area.
To simplify the aesthetic experience, limit project costs, and meet an ambitious timeline, a clear set of common materials, accessories, and construction details were established as a “kit of parts” for the design of each structure. The white material palette contrasts the surrounding landscape, providing a clear and purposeful village experience that carries through the campus and interior spaces. Educational and therapeutic areas inside the buildings overlook the shared commons and adjacent structures.
Compass Rose is a project that relies on connectivity. Each building relies on the other structures to provide the services needed, and each resident relies on the other girls to grow.
- Bethel University Lehman Family Training Center – Design Collaborative
- The Bradley – The Hagerman Group and Elevatus Architecture
- Brotherhood Mutual Insurance – Michael Kinder & Sons and Design Collaborative
- Carroll High School Improvements – Weigand Construction and Barton-Coe-Vilamaa
- Dupont Sports Medicine Complex – Moake Park Group and FCI Construction
- Goshen Intermediate School – Weigand Construction and Barton-Coe-Vilamaa
- Inox Market Service USA – Briner Building and Votaw Electric
- JR Watson Elementary Courtyard – FCI Construction and Barton-Coe-Vilamaa
- MVP Lanes – CME Corporation
- New Haven Community Center Park – Moake Park Group and Jones Petrie Rafinski
- O’Daniel Audi Porsche Service Center – CME Corporation
- Parts Town – CME Corporation and Design Collaborative
- Veterans Memorial Wall – The Hagerman Group and Crosby Excavating
- Wabash City Schools – The Hagerman Group and Barton-Coe-Vilamaa