Award Spotlight: Seven Projects Honored by Trade Publications

December 9, 2021

Building strong communities is at the heart of Brasfield & Gorrie’s work. We’re fortunate to spend our days building structures that positively impact our communities in many meaningful ways, from an innovative lab detecting and researching cancer to an aquarium expansion supporting marine conservation efforts.

Seven such projects were recently recognized by ENR Southeast and ENR Texas & Louisiana as Best Project Award Winners. Read on to learn about these projects and the ways they serve the communities around them.

Georgia Aquarium Predator Exhibit

Best Sports/Entertainment

A person stands in front of an aquarium exhibit, gazing at a shark

The Georgia Aquarium Predator Exhibit project included a new 1-million-gallon shark exhibit as its focal point and added a 104,149 sq ft expansion and renovation. Our crews self-performed all mats, foundations, tank walls, and elevated structures. We also constructed a new entrance and exit, a new ticketing area, and a new emergency egress to complete the interactive exhibit while the aquarium remained open for business. The Georgia Aquarium—where we’ve been building since its original construction started in 2003—promotes conservation of its varied marine flora and fauna and contains more than 11 million gallons of water.

This project also won first place in the AGC Build Georgia Awards. Click here to learn more about our past work on the Georgia Aquarium.

Marcus Tower at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital

Healthcare Award of Merit

A hospital tower at sunset

The project team worked around the clock to accelerate construction on The Marcus Tower at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital so three floors could provide ICU beds during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the tremendous construction team effort and coordination with manufacturers to have equipment shipped early, the tower opened on April 13, 2020—almost four months ahead of its original date.

This 16-story, 874,000 sq ft tower addition to the existing hospital in Midtown Atlanta is home to the Marcus Heart and Vascular Center and the Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center and includes ORs with video recording capacity, allowing physicians in training worldwide to learn from Piedmont experts.

This project also won a first-place AGC Build Georgia Award. Click here to learn more about the collaboration that made the early opening possible.

Highway 231 Emergency Bridge Construction

Highway/Bridge Award of Merit

Two bridges stretch over land

Heavy rain triggered a landslide on U.S. 231 in North Alabama in February 2020, forcing a total closure of the highway. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, and the Alabama Department of Transportation partnered with Dan Brown Engineering to study the soil and slope conditions beneath the roads. They determined that the landslides would be a reoccurring issue unless the foundation of the road was stabilized into bedrock.

Replacing the damaged highway with two 1,000-foot bridges would allow future washouts to move under the road without damaging the updated structures. Though initial estimates placed the timeline at a year or more, our preconstruction team drafted an expedited schedule. We self-performed approximately 6,000 cu yds of concrete within three months. Thanks in large part to these efforts, we completed the project in less than four months—more than two months earlier than the project deadline of Dec. 2, and nearly one month ahead of the Oct. 2 early completion target.

This project also won first place in ABC Alabama’s 2021 Excellence in Construction Awards, Infrastructure Heavy category. Click here to learn more about the Highway 231 Emergency Bridge Construction.

Airbus A320 Dual-Bay Hangar

Energy/Industrial Award of Merit

Two planes inside an airplane hangar

The Airbus A320 Dual-Bay Hangar project in Mobile, Alabama, presented an unexpected hurdle: building during a worldwide pandemic. In addition to adding pandemic safety processes, the project team used Last Planner System® and virtual meetings to coordinate between the owner and jobsite crews, minimizing travel and the potential spread of COVID-19.

This fast-track, progressive design-build effort consisted of two A320 hangar bays, all associated site utilities, aprons, taxiways, a two-story administrative annex, and a high-expansion foam fire suppression system. For safety, the fire suppression system needed to be able to fill the entire hangar with foam within three minutes of activation. To test its efficacy, we successfully filled the aircraft hangar with 9 ft of high-expansion foam concentrate. The project also included extensive self-perform work.

This project also won first place in ABC Alabama Excellence in Construction Awards, Industrial $25M–$50M category. Click here to learn more about the Airbus A320 Dual Bay Assembly Hangar.

GRAIL Laboratory and Research Facility

Best Renovation/Restoration 

People working within a lab

Our team faced an uphill battle against skilled labor shortages and procurement challenges caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic while delivering the GRAIL project within a 5.5-month timeline. Though no small task, the 110,000 sq ft interior build-out’s purpose necessitated this speed: The facility would become home to cutting-edge technology used to detect dozens of cancers from a single blood draw, supporting GRAIL’s mission of transforming cancer care through early detection and intervention. The project team involved critical trade contractors during the design process; identified multiple material suppliers; sought second-shift opportunities; and targeted alternative materials. These efforts shaved four months off the initial project schedule.

This project also won a first-place Eagle Award from ABC Carolinas’ Excellence in Construction Awards in the Renovation/Restoration category and the Best in BIM Award from the same contest. Click here to learn more about our science and technology expertise.

Ally Charlotte Center

Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Award of Merit

A 27-story steel frame building in an urban environment

The 27-story, 1.3 million sq ft project in Uptown Charlotte is much more than an office building; it’s a vibrant urban destination. Ally Charlotte Center boasts a host of features that encourage community engagement, such as golf and NASCAR immersion zones. Its plaza features an impressive 45 ft live oak tree expected to double in size during its lifetime.

When cracks appeared in a temporary asphalt walkway between the jobsite and Interstate 277, the project team was quick to fill them in. When they reappeared three days later, it became clear that soil movement along I-277’s steep embankments presented an ongoing challenge. The project team course corrected and was still able to complete core-and-shell construction three days ahead of schedule.

This project also won a first-place Eagle Award from ABC Carolinas’ Excellence in Construction Awards and Charlotte Business Journal Heavy Hitters Award, Mixed Use Category. The Ally Charlotte Center project received a certificate of achievement from the OSHA Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program. Learn more about the project here.

Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi

Healthcare Award of Merit

A children's hospital facade
Photo courtesy of HDR (c) 2020 Dan Schwalm

This seven-story, 340,000 sq ft expansion was situated over a road that served the entire campus, so maintaining hospital access presented a significant challenge. We executed a multi-phase strategy to close the existing road and construct a new one without hampering the flow of traffic. Our team’s expertise was as critical here as it was for MEP installation.

Representing one-third of the project total, MEP stood to make or break the budget and timeline. Our in-house MEP systems group met weekly with MEP trade contractors, ensuring that these critical systems met the hospital’s needs and were completed on time and accurately. The expansion marked the first time the construction manager-at-risk delivery method was used in Mississippi.

This project also won first place in ABC Mississippi Excellence in Construction Awards, Mega-Projects: >$100 million. Click here to learn more about the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi.