As a 30-year client, the Denver Zoo is a perfect example of one of Haselden’s “Clients for Life.” Our first project with them was a remodel of the Zoo’s operations building, and since that time we’ve completed about 20 major projects and over 100 small projects. Our latest project, the new Denver Zoo Animal Hospital, is an incredible project that will bring state-of-the-art veterinary medicine to meet the world-class level of care the Denver Zoo provides.

Haselden’s History with the Denver Zoo

We’ve done a lot of cool projects at the Zoo over the years! The restoration of the Conservation Carousel, the expansion of Primate Panorama, the Kimodo Dragon exhibit, the 4D Theater, the new Harmony Hills bear exhibit … we’ve been lucky to be a part of the evolution of this amazing piece of the culture of our city! In fact, for the last ten years, we’ve had a project in the works there nearly every year, and many times we have multiple jobs happening simultaneously.

Haselden’s largest project with the Zoo was the Front Entry/Predator Ridge project in the early 2000s. At the time of construction, this was a $20 million job. Spanning eight acres, the project included the demolition of various buildings and exhibits, and the construction of a new 15,000 SF lodge-style gift shop, a 16,000 SF guest services building, themed public rest rooms, and outdoor animal exhibits. The animal exhibits simulate the semi-arid east African savanna of Kenya; the naturalistic habitats are now home to some of Kenya’s native animals—lions, spotted hyenas, wild dogs, porcupines, and mongooses. Predator Ridge is an example of what zoos nationwide strive to achieve—larger, more naturalistic and educational exhibits.

Joe Hanlin, a senior project manager at Haselden Construction, has worked on numerous projects at the Zoo. “I truly enjoy working there because it’s so easy to get on board supporting their mission—local education programs plus conservation projects all over the world. If feels good to be part of that.”

Building the New Animal Hospital

The new 22,000 SF hospital is replacing the original hospital that was built in the 1950s and added onto in the 1960s. Before demolishing the old hospital, Haselden constructed a temporary hospital that is servicing the animals during the new construction. This temp structure is just one aspect of the extensive preparation that went into planning for this exceptional facility. An extensive study was performed to determine the best location for the new hospital. Considerations in deciding the location included determining how the animals would get from their habitat to the hospital; where a building of this size would fit logistically (some buildings and trees at the Zoo are on the historic register and cannot be modified, demoed, or removed); and what location would provide viewing opportunities for the public and further animal science education. Haselden team members also visited zoos around the country to draw on the experience and knowledge of other facilities.


What the Animals Have to Look Forward to!

There’s been considerable press on the new Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital at the Denver Zoo, and rightfully so! This hospital is an extraordinary leap forward in animal care. Designed by Stantec, it will house a world-class diagnostic laboratory, indoor and outdoor holding and quarantine spaces, state-of-the-art treatment rooms, and surgery suites, and it will be one of the only animal hospitals in the country with a CT scanner. The design includes much regard for the animals’ comfort, with considerations for noise, views, and daylight. The new facility also has the unique feature of offering Zoo patrons a view inside the hospital facility and a glimpse into the world of veterinary medicine.

The new hospital, which is being built to LEED Gold standards, is slated for completion in early to mid 2020.

One of the recent trends we’ve seen as builders is higher education campuses seeking to ensure that when a student or prospective student first arrives on their school grounds, there is an unmistakable destination for them to begin their campus experience. One of Haselden’s Core Values is to provide a Sense of Belonging to our team members, so it’s pretty cool that we can help colleges make students feel welcome by building an inviting entrance to their campus.

Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus – Ascent Center

Haselden began construction on the Ascent Center at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus in Glenwood Springs in September of 2018. “The campus really needed an effective gateway structure to welcome visitors to the campus; there wasn’t a clear and obvious place to enter the campus and get information,” said Heather Exby, Ph.D., the school’s vice president and campus dean. “The Ascent Center is that new gateway into the campus.” Designed by Anderson Mason Dale Architects, the 16,000 SF Ascent Center will be a welcoming center at the entry to the campus that will provide space for admissions and all student services, as well as a bookstore and coffee shop, and three classrooms that can be combined into one large space capable of holding 100 people. The building—being constructed to LEED® standards—features high ceilings with exposed glulam beams, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, and an indoor/outdoor fireplace. “Its design embodies the culture and values of the College and the location, and it is situated to embrace visitors and students alike,” states Dr. Exby. “The Center feels welcoming with its single level and the sloping roof lines draw visitors into the space. The interior is warm with warm wood throughout, a fireplace, and light-filled spaces.” The project is slated for completion this summer.

University of Wyoming Gateway Center

Completed in 2014, the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center provides a welcoming and recognizable entrance to the University of Wyoming. The 67,000 SF facility includes an event center that seats 600, student admissions, career services, UW Foundation offices, conference rooms, a “family room” complete with fireplace, and Legacy Hall—a gallery-style museum boasting interactive timelines and highlighting historic Wyoming residents. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Marian Rochelle’s daughter—former state senator and state representative April Brimmer Kunz—stated the building is a “gateway to the future for the University of Wyoming.” Former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead referred to Gateway as the “front door to a wonderful, wonderful life.”

More Than Just the Building

As a builder, creating an entry to the campus that makes students feel welcome is about more than just the finished product. It’s also about the process and making sure the students (and faculty and visitors) that are already on the campus remain safe and don’t feel displaced during construction. “Haselden has been a great partner with their keen attention to detail, focus on timely and safe building practices, and constant communication,” said Dr. Exby. In the case of the UW Gateway Center, it even included coordinating project tours during construction to help with fundraising for the project. Ben Blalock, president of the UW Foundation at University of Wyoming, stated, “We managed, with Haselden’s assistance, to do fundraising even in the middle of the construction project.”

From the time we are awarded a project through the end of our warranty period, we strive to achieve our purpose: Fulfilling our customers’ needs completely.

This year Haselden submitted three projects for ENR Mountain States Best Projects Awards – and every project brought one home! Every year the competition is fierce and this year was no different. The teams that built these projects—not only Haselden, but the architects, engineers, subconsultants, and subcontractors—worked together, overcame challenges, and gave the client an incredible final project in order to walk away with these honors. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Colorado State University Biology Building

Fort Collins, CO

Winner – Higher Education/Research Category

The Biology Building has become a cornerstone of Colorado State University’s new Science Quad. It is a $60.7 million, 4-story classroom and biology research facility that includes an auditorium-style lecture hall, computer labs for students, general teaching and research labs, and offices for faculty and graduate students. As a stop on the campus tour, it also serves as a museum of sorts: the amazing exhibits throughout the first floor were crafted by award-winning museum exhibit designers and composed to be enjoyed and studied in time increments ranging from 30 seconds (for example, a child touring with his or her parent or sibling) to 30 minutes (a graduate student). A 2-story fish tank and live plant wall add to the unique exhibits to make this a one-of-a-kind learning environment. The LEED® Gold Biology Building is a prime example of a successful design-build project.

UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital, Longmont, CO

Winner – Health Care Category

Northern Colorado is growing by leaps and bounds, and with that comes the need for increased access to quality healthcare. Haselden Construction was tasked with building the new Longs Peak Hospital for UCHealth at a pace that kept up with the quickly expanding population of the region. In an incredible 14 months, we took an empty 44 acre site with a historically registered irrigation ditch running through it to a state-of-the-art, 220,000 SF hospital—including a scope that was greatly expanded from that of the original RFP.

This project gave rise to increased use of prefabrication and creative QR code applications. Prefabrication transferred 34,000+ hours from the field and reduced the schedule by 121 working days—a 22% schedule savings. QR codes were used to aid in the punchlist, and to provide the owner with facilities maintenance support after the building was complete (read more about this on our blog).

Riverview School, Glenwood Springs, CO

Merit Award – K-12 Education Category

Haselden provided construction services for this brand new PK-8 neighborhood school that serves the area south of Glenwood Springs. The new, 76,000 SF school is located 2.5 miles south of Glenwood Springs just east of the intersection of Colorado 82 and the Westbank (Garfield County Road 154) and opened with 345 students and 45 staff members. The school can eventually serve up to 450 students. Its design features include views of the Roaring Fork River; a 7,000 SF gymnasium; a youth baseball/soccer field; a dedicated space for art, music, and technology; and breakout spaces in every classroom section.

This school greatly alleviates the overcrowding many other schools in the area were experiencing. Additionally, Riverview has a unique teaching/learning approach in that it is a dual language school, meaning classes are taught in both English and Spanish. By the time students reach 5th grade, they will be fluent in both languages. Only a handful of dual language schools exist in Colorado, and even fewer in the mountains. This school offers the community a distinctly different learning opportunity.

Riverview School Team

Success on these projects wouldn’t be possible without the support of incredible owners! Colorado State University, UCHealth, and Roaring Fork School District all collaborated with us to make such positive outcomes possible. A special congratulations to UCHealth who was chosen as ENR Mountain States’ 2018 Owner of the Year!

Last week we examined two historic renovations Haselden has worked on, and the challenges that accompanied those projects. This week we’re looking at three more—all with historic renovation components, but entirely different sets of complexities.

Case Study #3: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is one of only 81 designated basilicas in the United States, and the only basilica in Colorado. It is also one of the oldest churches in Denver, and represents Denver’s first Catholic congregation. The century-old church was in dire need of a new structural system to support the bells that date back to 1913. As it stood, the bell support beams were constructed of wood. In 2013, Haselden replaced the original wood with a steel structure, ensuring the safe suspension of the 15 bells approximately 125 feet above the ground.

The sheer logistics of this project provided Haselden with an interesting challenge. The bells were encased in a 14-foot-square tower, accessible by a 100-step spiral staircase and a hatch leading to the level that housed the bells. Because of the confines of the tower, the only way to move materials in and out of the structure was through the arched stone openings. Additionally, the bells were too large to be moved out of the tower while the work to the structure occurred. How did Haselden handle this conundrum? We lowered the smaller bells down the roof hatch to the landing below the level housing the bells, but the larger bells had to remain in the same small area where the work occurred. Because of the considerable weight of the larger bells, it wasn’t possible to simply rest them on the landing below, so the team designed and constructed a structural steel beam to hold the bells during the demolition and reconstruction of the new bell support structure. The beam spanned through the arched stone openings and rested on the lower sills. Special rubber pads were put in place to ensure the masonry wasn’t damaged.

The basilica required very specific expertise to protect the historic value while ensuring the safety of the structure. Haselden brought in The Verdin Company, a firm that has specialized in the restoration of bells and their supporting structures for nearly two centuries. Verdin designed and built the new steel structure, which had to be configured for the weight distribution of each bell. They also designed the new ringer system, as well as the bell automation.

The goal with this project was to bring innovative technology to the bell tower without compromising the historic façade. The first step was to replace the original wooden structure with steel. This not only improved the safety of the structure, it also ensured that the bells would be in the correct position for ringing, and not askew because of a sagging support beam. Additionally, all the bell ringers were replaced and an electric control panel was installed. The original cathedral bells still ring, but now they can be controlled via the push of a button, or programmed in advance.

Due to safety issues associated with the deteriorating structure, the big bell had not sounded in a decade, and the smaller bells had been silent for two years. The bells rang for the first time on Thanksgiving Day of 2013 (check out the video!). The Winchester Bell now chimes every quarter hour between 8am and 9pm. The bells also peal on Sundays before mass begins and again at the end of mass, as well as on special occasions like weddings.

Case Study #4: Bank Lofts

The Bank Lofts in downtown Denver is another interesting project. While the building is a designated historic landmark, the portion we are working on does not require adherence to historic restrictions as it is in mechanical rooms in the basement. The building is switching to more modern boilers, and Haselden’s On-Call Team was hired to renovate the area, creating two paths of egress. Not necessarily a project you’d think of in relation to historic preservation, but one that’s mandatory to ensure the new boiler system is up to code.

Our team has come across some pretty cool relics during the project—like the old bank vault!

Case Study #5: Hotel Jerome

Our current work at the Hotel Jerome represents the only project in this blog that required working within historic registry parameters. The overall renovation and addition encompasses several elements: 13,500 SF of new construction includes back-of-house areas in the basement, meeting space on the first floor, and new hotel rooms on floors two and three, as well as a pool and 7,000 SF courtyard. The historic portion comprises the original Aspen Times building which was salvaged and moved. The first floor of this building is being converted to a meeting room, with a basement underneath it which will be a speakeasy lounge.

Working with the Aspen Times building (built in 1881) had several challenging facets. The first was to save as much of the building as possible—including the parts you don’t see, such as the framing and roof trusses. This meant that any time we needed to cut a roof truss – even if it was to install bracing to ensure the physical integrity of the building – we had to obtain permission from the Historic Preservation Commission. Moving the building was also challenging. Originally built atop a rubble foundation, we moved the building so we could excavate for and build the basement. We then poured the slab of the basement roof that became the new foundation of the Aspen Times building and moved the building atop that slab. To ensure we could pick the building up and move it the required 45 feet (90 feet round trip) without it being damaged, we had an engineer design bracing details. We also added a stairwell (approved by the Historic Preservation Commission) leading from the original building down to the new speakeasy lounge.

Another interesting and challenging aspect of this project is that the historic portion also ties into the new addition!

As you can see from the five case studies presented over the last two weeks, each historic renovation comes with its own set of demands and rewarding results. Haselden loves being a part of keeping Colorado’s history alive and looks forward to more projects like these!

Haselden works on many different types of construction: new builds, additions, renovations, tenant build-outs . . . you name it! One subset of those categories is historic renovations. Even properties that aren’t on historic registries have beautiful details worth preserving and owners that want to safeguard their historical heritage. Is working on a historic project different for us and our clients even when it’s not a registered project? It sure is! Over the next two weeks, we’ll look at five Haselden projects with historic components and the challenges we’ve encountered.

Case Study #1:

Holy Ghost Catholic Church

Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Denver is largely a cosmetic refurbishment project which is currently underway by our On-Call team. Haselden’s scope includes removing/restoring/reinstalling all exterior doors; installing new floor closers; pressure-washing the building exterior; replacing terra cotta at the base of building and on planters; adding a snowmelt system to the main office stairs and replacing the tiles; and electrical work including adding new lighting in the nave and replacing the main chandelier in the sanctuary.

What’s so complicated about that? One of the most onerous tasks in our scope was actually the doors. The doors are rail and stile configuration and much of the wood had rotted and the glue had failed. Restoring the doors involved

completely dismantling them, replacing the rotten wood, and rebuilding them. But replacing 75 year old wood isn’t as easy as it sounds. Matching the grain is important in maintaining the integrity of the aesthetics, and because wood grown 10 decades ago was grown at a slower rate than the same species grown today, the grain from the older wood is tighter. Tracking down wood that would seamlessly integrate with the existing wood of the doors entailed intensive searching for several weeks. Seeing the results, it’s easy to agree it was worth the effort – they turned out beautifully!

Case Study #2:

St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

St. John Vianney is another project completed by our On-Call team. The rich history of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary campus dates back to 1908. Outgrown just 15 years after it opened, the original building was supplemented with several other buildings designed by well-known Denver architect Jules J.B. Benedict. Haselden renovated several of these buildings, including the seminary dorms (c. 1930s), the library (c. 1950s), and the chapel (c. 1930s). The goal of the renovation was to make it more comfortable for the occupants with modern systems, while at the same time retaining historic aesthetics.

Prior to the renovation, the only cooling that existed for the chapel was a fan in the bell tower that pulled in outside air. During the 100° days of Denver summers, this was certainly not adequate, and the Archdiocese of Denver wanted to add a chilled-water mechanical system to the chapel. However, they did not want to place the unit outside of the chapel for aesthetic reasons. Because the chapel is an 85-year-old, unreinforced masonry structure, there were limitations as to how construction could proceed—structural penetrations through a building this fragile required excessive care. Haselden also wanted to use as much of the existing chases and raceways as possible so the architecture of the existing building was not negatively impacted. To meet these conditions, Haselden installed the chilled-water mechanical unit inside the tower of the chapel. The unit (18 feet tall and 24,000 lbs) had to be manufactured not only to fit in the bell tower (approximately 21’ square), but also to allow the individual pieces to fit through the bell tower’s arches—approximately 42” wide and 78” high. The pieces were brought into the tower individually, lowered down approximately 70 feet, and assembled inside the tower. To make this process feasible, Haselden engineered a hoisting system: we put in a trolley system and used an existing substructure (intended for a bell system but not utilized) to support it. The structural integrity of the concrete floor where the unit was to be placed was unclear, so Haselden installed new structural steel and poured a second floor over the first to ensure the strength.


In addition to the new cooling system, all new circuitry was installed throughout the chapel and the original light fixtures were retrofitted with LEDs. This assisted with energy conservation while keeping the historic fixtures intact.

The seminary portion of the project comprised both electrical work and exterior work. The electrical work included an old vault controlled by Xcel that contained high-voltage transformers—the kind that would normally be seen atop high power poles. Safety concerns made replacing this system a necessity. Haselden demolished the slab-on-grade of the old vault, then lowered the floor level to provide the required clearances for the new switchgear. Xcel installed a new pad-mounted transformer outside the old vault room. Because of the age and structure of the buildings, Haselden worked closely with the structural engineers to determine where it was safe to punch holes in the foundation to run the new service. In addition to the power project, Haselden also retrofitted approximately 300 doors and windows. Staying true to the historic façade of the seminary, we used custom aluminum window units to match the aesthetics of the originals, but at the same time provide more energy efficiency.

The final result is a stunning transformation – stunning because although the buildings now have all the comforts of the times, anyone looking at the buildings would think they had never been touched.

Look for next week’s blog post which will continue with a look at three more historic projects Haselden has worked on!

Our Northern Regional office in Fort Collins may have just opened in September, but things are already hoppin’ up there! Three of our largest projects in the area include the CSU AZ Addition, Larimer County Administration Building, and CSU Global Foods Innovation Center. Here’s an update:

Colorado State University AZ Addition

This design-build project with partner Hord|Coplan|Macht is a 40,000 SF addition to the existing Anatomy/Zoology Building. The steel structure includes a 5,100 SF gross anatomy lab with 36 stations, 3,000 SF neuro-anatomy lab with 20 stations and the ability to flex into more gross anatomy space, a digital anatomy lab, and an outreach classroom.

It’s been an active month on this jobsite! NG Construction installed an underground detention pond system (a first for CSU!) just outside of our building footprint. This system holds stormwater flows, filters heavy particulates, and allows a controlled flow of the water out of and into the waterways. The use of this system lets us avoid installing a large pond, and gives the University a large, flat greenspace that they will use for events.

As if that weren’t enough! We also topped out the elevator core with a 4th floor pour, and all of the concrete foundations were completed, allowing for steel to start.

PLUS, we removed a precast panel from the existing building on the 3rd floor (the yellow patch is temporarily weatherproofed until we have our building in place) which will become a connecting corridor from the expansion into the existing building. Steel erection started and will last until late March.

Larimer County Administration Building

This much anticipated building will house several vital county offices such as the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Motor Vehicles, County Clerk, Larimer County Workforce Center, and Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.

Amazingly, this project—designed by The Architects’ Studio—just started last July. Already, roofing is complete and brick is 50% complete.  Interior drywall is 70% on 1st floor and the 2nd floor is framed with MEP rough-in. Windows are 40% complete. The project is scheduled for completion this August.

Colorado State University Global Foods Innovation Center

Another design-build project with architect Hord Coplan Macht, this is the approximately 36,000 SF addition of a pre-engineered metal building system to the south of the existing Animal Sciences Building. The addition will provide space for a state-of-the-art meat processing facility, support offices, culinary kitchen with demonstration space, and instructional auditorium.

We have completed underground utilities, foundation/backfill, and have taken delivery of the pre-engineered metal building. Vertical steel erection started this week and will continue for about five weeks. In two to three weeks, we’ll begin underground plumbing followed by slab-on-grade placements.

It’s an exciting time in the Northern Region! We’re thrilled to have put down roots in Fort Collins and be part of this awesome community!