Teams competing to design, build Hanford Reach center all have ties to region

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldNovember 14, 2012 

The six teams of architects and contractors vying to design and construct the first building on Hanford Reach Interpretive Center's campus all have ties to the Tri-Cities.

And this week, they're pitching their concepts to the public agency overseeing development of the long-awaited regional facility.

The first three teams -- Apollo Inc. and FFA Architecture and Interiors; Randolph Construction Services and ALD Architects; and Chervenell Construction and Meier Architecture -- made their presentations to the Richland Public Facilities District board Tuesday.

The final three are scheduled to appear before the board at a meeting today.

They are: DGR Grant Construction and Terence L. Thornhill Architect; G2 Construction and CKJT Architects; and Bouten Construction and MMEC Architecture and Interiors.

That meeting is at 2:30 p.m. at Richland City Hall, 505 Swift Blvd.

Lisa Toomey, the Hanford Reach project's chief executive officer, said she's happy with the pool of teams competing for the job.

"It validates my feeling there's a lot of talent in the community," she told the Herald.

About 10 design-build teams submitted proposals before the field was narrowed to the six making their pitches this week.

Early next week, the public facilities district board is expected to choose two to three finalists. Those teams then must submit more detailed proposals.

The final selection is scheduled for January. Construction could start in mid-2013 and conclude in 2014.

The interpretive center has been in the works for a decade but has experienced setbacks, ranging from site and financial issues.

The scaled-down plan starts with a 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot building at the west end of Columbia Park. Officials estimate it will cost about $3.35 million to design and build.

"Eventually, we hope to have four or more buildings on the campus," said Toomey, who came on board earlier this year. "This is the first building. This is where we start."

The interpretive center is intended to tell the story of the Mid-Columbia region -- from its natural resources and natural history to the Manhattan Project.

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