Monumental Challenges Drive Innovative Solutions

By on April 12, 2018

From Construction Executive:  Some projects are more complicated than others. For renovations to the historic park and subterranean museum expansion at the Gateway Arch National Park (formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) in St. Louis, the challenges were monumental.

The Gateway Arch Park Foundation, which led the project, explained the effort: “Five decades after the completion of the Gateway Arch, the site remained kind of an island, severed from the rest of the city by busy highways, and disconnected from the Mississippi River. Acknowledging this, the National Park Service created a new general management plan for the Arch grounds in 2009, the first such update in 40 years. The same year, The City + The Arch + The River 2015: Framing a Modern Masterpiece International Design Competition was launched. An immense public-private project began in 2013 when CityArchRiver Project partners broke ground on a new plan to reimagine, connect, enhance and transform the Arch and surrounding park for future generations.”

With multiple layers of consultants, architects, archaeologists, governmental agencies and a host of subcontractors working on the project—often simultaneously—coordinating and scheduling would be a continuous focus. The complex scope would also require high attention to detail and meticulous planning.

The National Park Service selected McCarthy Building Companies in 2014 to serve as the general contractor in part because of their demonstrated ability to handle complex projects and work collaboratively with multiple clients and project teams.

McCarthy’s focus was on three of the five phases, which included expansion and renovation of the visitor center and museum and the renovation of both the north and south grounds surrounding the 50-year-old national monument to create a more pedestrian-friendly experience for visitors to the Arch with easier access to and from downtown St. Louis. The entire site, including areas directly above the new museum addition, new grand entrance and the existing museum, required re-grading, new landscaping, a new irrigation system and installation of amended soil and sod.

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About Dede Hance