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Ascent Construction is listed as one of the best library contractors in the U.S.

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

by GENERAL CONTRACTOR MAGAZINE STAFF

A vast collection of books is what most people think of when they think of libraries. And despite what you might have heard about the impact of internet search engines and online book stores, those big collections of books are still popular in a lot of American neighborhoods, and the people manning your local library reference desk have a difficult time keeping up with the demand for their digital information navigating skills.

In fact, libraries have actually expanded their role in our society in this new digital age, and they’ve done so despite facing the major funding difficulties compounded by the misperception that they aren’t needed anymore. Many public libraries offer robust access to the internet and house robust collections of film and games. University libraries, of course, present infrastructure challenges unique to university culture. The study spaces need to be peaceful and inviting, and a university’s increasingly complex research tools need to be housed in a way that they can be well-maintained and reliable. And major research libraries often house archives or special collections that need to be temperature controlled and might even require advanced security to safeguard invaluable, irreplaceable manuscripts and artifacts. And increasingly libraries operate as public venues for educational activities and artistic performances.

The best library buildings are, in other words, physical reflections of the communities they serve.  The American Library Association (ALA) has repeatedly recognized the importance of the physical infrastructure of libraries in the pages of its various magazines. The best contractors are capable of building these libraries combining inspiring internal space, good functionality, and beautiful architecture.

We looked at contractors across America, searching for firms that had completed impressive libraries. This list of fifty firms, with a representative in each state, is the result. Some firms have affiliations with industry organizations like the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), as well as certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Others have been featured in publications like Elle Decor, Engineering News-Record (ENR), and the Business Journal. Besides affiliations and features within industry publications, the best firms have a collection of awards like ABC’s Excellence in Construction awards, and AIA and ENR’s Contractor of the Year Award. Rankings within the ENR and LEED Certifications were also considered.

If you’re a city council member charged with building a new branch library, or a university administrator concerned about housing your special collections archive, or just a casual lover of books, you’ll find something interesting on this list, and it might just be in your home state.


Utah

Ascent Construction

Website | 801-299-1711 | 310 West Park Lane, Farmington, UT 84025

Ascent Construction may be best known for the Escalante Science and Visitor Center, the first LEED Gold building in Utah. The firm made its reputation as an early pioneer of sustainable construction in Utah. The firm is also one of Utah’s top ten commercial contractors, and will have completed their 20th year of business in 2020. In 2018, Ascent was awarded the distinguished Arches Award by the Utah Labor Commission for workplace safety and health on the Sugarmont project. Ascent has received 26 prestigious quality awards in the past six years, and eight projects recognized for excellence by UC&D, Varco-Pruden, and ENR in 2018. Four of the firm’s library projects won awards, including the 2016 UC&D Award for Outstanding Project Green/Sustainable and 2016 ENR Award Best Small Project on the Marmalade Library.

In addition to these awards, ENR has featured two library projects the firm has built. One of these projects is the Marmalade Branch Library, design by Blalock & Partners. A LEED Silver project, the library is only the first phase of a larger public-private development within the Marmalade district. The design reduces solar heat gain while providing views that overlook the street and beyond. The building has weathered steel panels, cement board, and zinc for primary cladding. The exterior stair tower, meanwhile, is circled by tempered glass panels that were assembled like overlapping shingles. This design results in the front of the building’s dynamic texture that creates a lantern-like glow in the evenings. The interior was made to balance exposed raw materials with more refined finishes to blend the project into its urban location.

In April, Ascent broke ground on their latest library project out in Daybreak, Utah. The Daybreak Library Branch will be the nineteenth branch for the Salt Lake County Library System, and expected to be LEED v. 4 certified. The Daybreak Branch will act as a de facto community center, a co-working space, a bridge for the digital divide and a nurturer of lifelong learning and literacy. This branch will redefine the whole notion of library—with a rooftop garden, a maker space and other innovative features. But don’t worry, they will still have a large assortment of books and a children’s story time area. The Daybreak Library was designed by Architectural Nexus, and is expected to open to the public early Fall 2020.


To view the full list of best library contractors please visit: https://www.generalcontractors.org/the-best-library-contractors-in-the-u-s/

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