PALM SPRINGS — A Utah company was honored with the "Oscar" of the construction industry for its work on the Ogden High School auditorium.
Though this award featured a polished i-beam instead of a shiny gold statuette, its prestige is just as remarkable. The team from Hughes General Contractors of North Salt Lake traveled to Palm Springs, Calif. to attend the 94th-annual Associated General Contractors Build America Awards, where they came out on top in the "Building Renovation" category.
"It felt very good," said company vice president Dan Pratt. "I just wish everyone could have been there, all the hundreds of people who worked on the project."
The project to which Pratt referred is the massive renovation of the Ogden High auditorium. The school — first built in 1936 — was in dire need of seismic and environmental repair.
When the project began in 2009, the thought was the auditorium was too far gone to save. But a fund drive organized by Ogden High alumni and others raised $9 million to restore the auditorium back to its original state.
"It's certainly a privilege and an honor to be involved with a project like this. There are so many people who worked so hard behind the scenes."
Pratt said the challenge was a tough one to tackle. To preserve and restore the famous art-deco look on the walls and ceiling of the auditorium, the workers had to use unconventional methods to carefully reinforce and rehabilitate the plaster, bricks, steel and woodwork.
Hundreds of people worked on the project, which was completed last December. The work completely restored the room and brought it up to current code.
"The goal was literally for the alumni to walk in and say, ‘this looks like it was originally built, I didn't notice any difference,'" Pratt said.
The winners of the Build America Awards are judged on a variety of criteria, including difficulties of the job; innovation in construction techniques and state-of-the-art advancement; and contribution to the community.
The judges agreed the Ogden High auditorium renovation certainly met all of those.
"It's certainly a privilege and an honor to be involved with a project like this," said Pratt. "There are so many people who worked so hard behind the scenes."
This isn't the first time a Utah company has received one of these national awards — others have been honored in the past.
The Build America ceremony honors companies for their work in a variety of construction categories such as bridges, dams, freeways and pipelines — with the bottom line being overall excellence.