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DBIA Announces Projects in Arizona and Colorado as National Design-Build Project/Team Merit Award Winners

by: Jessica Hoover
University of Arizona Student Success District
University of Arizona Student Success District
University of Arizona Student Success District
University of Arizona Student Success District
Judi's House (Photo courtesy of MKM Build Photography)
Judi's House (Photo courtesy of MKM Build Photography)
Judi's House (Photo courtesy of MKM Build Photography)
Judi's House (Photo courtesy of MKM Build Photography)
The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) announces the winners of the 2023 National Design-Build Project/Team Merit Awards. A total of 62 projects from across the United States were submitted for consideration in 10 different categories. The submissions underwent evaluation by a panel of industry experts.

“With the continued growth of design-build, we are seeing more impressive projects that are raising the bar for success for design-build teams across the country, pushing the limits of high performance, and optimizing triple-bottom line success,” said DBIA Executive Director/CEO, Lisa Washington, CAE.

Merit Award winners will now compete for the National Award of Excellence, "Best of" categories, and Project of the Year. The recognition of Merit Award winners and the announcement of additional winners will take place at DBIA's Design-Build Conference & Expo Awards Ceremony on November 2 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

Two projects from the Rocky Mountain Construction area received DBIA awards:

University of Arizona Student Success District (Educational Facilities Category)
The $61 million Student Success District project combines the University of Arizona’s Main Library, Weaver Science-Engineering Library, and Bear Down Gymnasium with the new 57,000-square-foot Bartlett Center for Student Success to create an interconnected district linked by canopies, walkways, and bridges.

To tackle this project’s design goals, budget constraints, and tight design and construction schedule, the university opted for a Progressive Design-Build delivery method. This method promoted a "one team" approach, emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving. Using the “one team” approach, team members understood that the project's vision could only be achieved by prioritizing the project's interests over individual ones. Through this effort, the team was able to proactively identify and mitigate potential risks and devise design and construction solutions that accomplished the university’s design goals within budget.

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To ensure minimal disruptions to students during construction, the project was executed in phases from 2019 to 2022. Simultaneously working in multiple locations, the team coordinated with the university's Planning, Design, and Construction department to ensure proper sequencing, safety, and quality throughout the construction process. Heavy demolition work was strategically scheduled during the summer months to minimize disruptions to campus activities, with temporary partitions erected to manage access within the buildings.

Sustainability was also a core focus of the Student Success District. Drought-tolerant indigenous plantings and dry streams were integrated into the landscape design, efficiently collecting stormwater during seasonal monsoons. The project achieved LEED Gold certification, exceeding the university's goals of reducing energy and water demands.

Design-Build Team
  • Client/Owner: University of Arizona, Planning Design and Construction
  • Design-Build Firm: Sundt Construction
  • Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership
  • Engineer: Cypress Civil Development
  • Specialty Contractors: Mayer Reed
Judi’s House (Office/Commercial Buildings Category)
Judi's House — the only research-based organization dedicated to helping grieving children and their families in the Metro Denver area — plays a crucial role in Colorado, where one in 14 children experience the death of a parent or sibling by the age of 18. Judi's House offers its services in Colorado at no charge, relying solely on private donations for funding.

PCL Construction, in addition to serving as the design-build contractor for the Judi’s House facility, contributed significantly to the project's financial support. PCL donated funds and coordinated the donations of construction materials from suppliers. The entire project budget was sourced through philanthropic sources, with PCL Construction and its subcontractors collectively donating 12% of the project's costs.

The newly constructed $13 million, 26,470-square-foot Judi's House facility offers on-site parking; play, art, and group therapy rooms; community education spaces; workforce training areas; and an outdoor garden for therapy sessions and gatherings. While technically a commercial building, Judi's House’s design emphasizes a home-like atmosphere. Spaces are designed with comfort in mind, while offering age-appropriate areas for various activities.

“As a 15-year partner to Judi’s House, PCL has experienced first-hand how creating a sense of home is so critical to grieving children who need to feel comfortable in their environment to fully heal and grow,” said Ryan Schmidt, PCL Construction’s Denver Buildings District Manager. “We look forward to seeing the impact this building will have on so many children’s lives for years to come.”

Privacy and safety were top priorities due to the sensitive nature of Judi's House's work. The building was designed to be all-electric to eliminate gas-related risks, and safety measures like window safety stops were implemented to prevent falls. Secure entrances, soundproofing, private counseling rooms, and controlled access to sensitive areas ensure confidentiality and safety for those seeking support.

Design-Build Team
  • Client/Owner: Judi’s House
  • Design-Build Firm: PCL Construction
  • Architect: Davis Partnership Architects
  • Engineer: Jirsa-Hedrick Structural Engineers
  • Specialty Contractors: RK Mechanical
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