By CHRIS PETERSON Hungry Horse News Hagadone Corporation
The Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park has always been a grand place. But after a six-month long, $3 million renovation, the guest rooms and cabins have never looked better or been more comfortable as the lodge opened last weekend.
Xanterra Parks and Resorts in cooperation and oversight from the Park Service paid for the renovations as part of its long-term contract to run the lodges in Glacier, Xanterra general manager Marc Ducharme explained during a tour last week.
The rooms were stripped down to bare studs and rooms were completely renovated, including electrical, plumbing, heating systems paint and furnishings. The project was 60 percent planning, 40 percent production, said John and Mark Casalegno, of Hammerquist and Casalegno, general contractors for the project.
The firm spent a full month planning the project before a hammer was ever swung.
Since Xanterra won the Park concessions contract in 2014, the firm has done several projects for the company, including its headquarters in Columbia Falls, a new garage for the red bus fleet and several park properties. When all is said and done, Xanterra will have upgraded and renovated every property it operates in Glacier, Ducharme said.
By Dillon Tabish, Flathead Beacon
BIGFORK - Students, staff and community members cheered as the melody of the school's pep band echoed in the heart of the town. The renovation of the high school commenced with celebration.
"This is an effort stretching back 30 years to make this happen," Superintendent Matt Jensen told the crowd. "It's because you persevered through those efforts that we can stand here today and celebrate this."
Last week crews with Hammerquist Casalegno officially began work on the $14 million multi-year makeover of Bigfork High School. An estimated 30,000 square feet of new space will be built onto the existing building. Other spaces will be renovated and upgraded to modern safety standards. The school was able to add an additional 6,000 square feet, which will include building a multi-use room that could host community events, because of a favorable bond rate below 4 percent, Jensen said.
"We've had 30 years that this has been needed. So we're making up for lost time, but we're also trying to build something that fits the needs for 20 years down the road," Jensen said.
State-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility preserves fleet in Columbia Falls
By Justin Franz, Flathead Beacon
COLUMBIA FALLS- A few years ago, after the foliage had fallen and the Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed for the season, Glacier National Park's iconic Red Buses were mothballed for the winter in a dingy old barn in East Glacier Park.
While the old barn, built in 1919, had successfully protected the fleet of 33 "Reds" for more than 70 winters, it wasn't a perfect home for the beloved buses.
Dave Eglsaer, the man tasked with protecting the buses for the last few years, said sometimes the wind blew as hard inside as it did outside. On some occasions snow would even penetrate the cracks between the walls or under the doors, resulting in huge drifts inside the barn.
But that's not going to be a problem this winter at the new 30,000-square-foot Red Bus barn near Columbia Falls that was completed this fall by Xanterra Parks and Resorts at a cost of $2 million.
"This is the first time since the first one was built back in 1936 that the Red Buses will be stored in a climate controlled facility," said Eglsaer, Xanterra's transportation director. "It's a huge upgrade."
By Seaborn Larson, The Daily Inter Lake
The City of Kalispell on Monday will recognize the best architecture completed within the city over the past two years.
The Kalispell Architectural Review Committee has selected four recipients for its annual awards program. Projects selected for the awards were developed in 2013 and 2014.
“A lot of what they looked at was overall appearance, trying to bring the entire site together by incorporating the landscape, parking design and signage with the building and its surroundings,” Kalispell Planner P.J. Sorensen said.
The review committee looked at projects across a two-year time frame. There are three general categories, but the review committee looked for four projects that caught their eye within that timeframe.
Kalispell Kidds Pediatric Dentistry at 1252 North Meridian was selected as the best newly constructed building. The building features stonework around the building’s exterior, with wood trim framing each facade. The dental office also has two front doors; a swinging glass door and a short, red wooden door meant for children, to add a safe, fun environment.
“The small red door, where children can walk in and out makes it stand out quite a bit,” Sorensen said.
The architecture was completed by Jackola Engineering and Architecture of Kalispell. Hammerquist Casalegno LLC, of Kalispell, completed construction within the last year.
Three Rivers Bank at 233 East Idaho St. was selected for the best addition for the construction work done to the back of the building, seamlessly linking to the existing facade. The stonework is complemented by a wall of windows adjacent to the front door, welcoming customers from the back of the building.
“When looking at remodels for the awards, they’re looking at how well the addition blends into the original,” Sorensen said. “They did a really good job of bringing that together.”
Several years ago, Sorensen said, the bank had an aged style and was modernized after a few different projects. The newest addition was the only project on the bank considered for the award.
CTA Architects Engineers of Kalispell designed the addition, while Hammerquist Casalegno led the construction.
By: Taylor Winkel- KCFW
KALISPELL, Mont. - It's the third day of school for kids at Flathead High and one group of students is already knee-deep in their education.
Excavation began Thursday on an 1,800-square-foot home that students in the Flathead High School construction class are building. The property is on Corporate Drive in Kalispell.
While most high school courses focus on prepping kids for college, this class helps students develop skills so they can go straight into the work force after they graduate.
Flathead High teacher Brock Anderson says the program is especially helpful for kids who exceed in hands-on learning.