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Historical Moment: Obama Presidential Center

Historic Jackson Park, Chicago Illinois

This month, Hall Group Design Engineering Firm (HGD) is showcasing the collaborative effort taking place to design and construct the Obama Presidential Center. This type of collaboration and team integration are core elements emphasized throughout HGD’s processes and teaming approach. We incorporate 20+years of industry experience, lessons learned and researched case studies - similar to the Obama Presidential Center project – to establish comprehensive and quality project teams for the development of plans, specifications and design products.

The Obama Presidential Center is being established by Barack and Michelle Obama in the heart of Chicago’s South Side - a neighborhood they call home and within the historic district of Jackson Park - to serve as a resource tool to empower communities world-wide. Construction for the 20-acre complex is tracking to start as early as Late-2018 with an estimated completion date of 2021. The complex will include a Presidential Museum tower to serve as a landmark for the campus; a 2-level Forum housing a 300-seat auditorium, broadcast studio, winter garden and restaurant; a 2-story athletic center with community and workout rooms; a 450-vehicle parking garage; a plaza with open green space, to include a sledding hill, vegetable gardens, winding walk paths and outdoor play areas. And, recently announced – the Obama Foundation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library will be partnering together to add a state-of-the-art public library to the complex. The library will help to provide South Side residents with public library access within walking distance.

Chicago Skyline

When selecting the core design and construction team that would build this campus, the Obama Foundation placed emphasis on ensuring opportunities were created for local talented businesses, minorities and other underrepresented populations.

LEAD ARCHITECTS. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) and Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) were selected to lead the design team. TWBTA are a husband-and-wife 30-person architectural firm founded in 1986. Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) is a 10-person architecture design firm located in Chicago and founded in 1992. “For us, collaboration is an opportunity: to create, to learn, to interact with other thought leaders in our profession”, says Dina Griffin, president of IDEA.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) was selected as the lead landscape architect team in partnership with Site Design Group and Living Habitats. MVVA led the design for the award-winning civic project of Maggie Daley Park in Chicago. Site Design Group was established in 1990 and is a Chicago based Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firm. Living Habitats was established in 2001 and is a Chicago based woman-owned firm. Both companies have a successful track record of working on Chicago-wide District projects. “Growing up in the Hyde Park / Kenwood community has infused in me a sense of responsibility to the South Side and the city as a whole. We are honored to partner with MVVA, Living Habitats and especially the Obama Foundation to realize an incredible asset for Jackson Park and this strong and vibrant community”, says Ernie Wong, Founder of the Site Design Group.

CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT TEAM. Lakeside Alliance was selected as the construction manager for the Obama Presidential Center. The team includes Turner Construction, the Presidential Partners consortium of Powers & Sons Construction, UJAMAA Construction, Brown & Momen, and Safeway Construction. Powers & Sons, UJAMAA, Brown & Momen, and Safeway are some of the most established and well-respected African-American owned construction firms in Chicago. The construction management team will be required to commit to awarding 50% or more of their contracts to diverse suppliers. And no less than 35% of construction work is to be awarded to minority business enterprise firms.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM. In April, the Obama Foundation announced that a tri-venture, Center Consortium, comprised of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), McKissack & McKissack and Ardmore Associates would lead the project management team. JLL is an international firm headquartered in Chicago. McKissack & McKissack is a minority owned firm headquartered in Washington, DC. They were also selected as the project management team for the recently built Smithsonian African American Museum. Ardmore Associates is an engineering consulting firm headquartered in Chicago.

According to Deloitte who conducted the economic impact assessment, it is estimated that 2,536 jobs will be created as a result of the Obama Presidential Center. Annual visitors are expected to range from 625,000 to 760,000. For the South Side of Chicago, the assessment estimates that the Obama Presidential Center would result in an economic impact of $2.1 billion during the construction period and first ten years of operations.

For more information on the Obama Presidential Center, see https://www.obama.org/the-center/ .

For more information on HGD, see https://www.hgdengineering.com/ .

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