CISCO announces 2023 Project of the Year Winners

CISCO announces 2023 Project of the Year Winners

December 15, 2023

BURR RIDGE – The Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) announced its Project of the Year award winners today as part of its annual Pride in Construction Award Program. The program recognizes the top quality, Union construction projects in six (6) different categories, as well as three (3) individual awards: Educator of the Year, Public Body of the Year and Construction Advocate of the Year. For the second time in CISCO history, the CISCO Board of Directors decided to use its discretionary authority and award a Special Mention honor. It selected a unique project as a Community Project honor.

“We are proud to recognize these projects, project teams and organizations for this prestigious award,” said CISCO Executive Director Dan Allen. “Clearly, all entries are winners as the quality of each of these projects was evident to our Board members, who had the difficult task of choosing in each category. Amidst challenges still felt from the COVID pandemic, such as supply chain issues, general contractors, subcontractors, and the men and women who construct these buildings collaborated to stay safe, stay on time and within budget to complete these outstanding projects.”

The top project in the New Construction – Chicago (Above $20M) went to Chicago Park District Administrative Headquarters, Fieldhouse and Site Development

CISCO Project of the Year

The finished building provides both administrative space and a fieldhouse with plenty of meeting spaces and terraces for community use. © CONNOR STEINKAMP PHOTOGRAHY

This project included the construction of the Park District’s 80,000 square-foot new building – including administrative offices, a community fieldhouse, athletic fields, and other recreational space.

This project faced several construction challenges. The 2-story, circular building is actually two structures bisected through the middle by a courtyard/walkway, and connected by three bridges on the 2nd floor.

The general contractor was Paschen ALL Joint Venture; the client was the Chicago Park District.


The top choice in the category for New Construction – Suburbs (Above $20M) was Lincoln Elementary School

CISCO Project of the Year

The 79,380 square foot, two-level learning environment incorporates the latest in education design: a large gathering / presentation stair, individual break-out rooms, outdoor instruction and play environments and secured main entrances with a dedicated administration wing.

District 205 in Elmhurst wanted to replace its 106-year-old Lincoln Elementary School in time for the 2022 school year. This new, modernized building provides future-ready learning spaces – to drive student success. This LEED silver certification school is 80,000 square-foot and 2 stories and involved 64,000-man hours. The inside the school is partitioned into “neighborhoods.” Each given its own identifying personality.

Safety was huge and was discussed at weekly subcontractor meetings by both the superintendent and project manager, resulting in ZERO safety incidents.

The general contractor was International Contractors, Inc.; the client was Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205.

The top choice of New Construction – Chicago/Suburbs (Below $20M) projects went to Rusu-McCartin Boys & Girls Club of Chicago

The Rusu-McCartin Boys and Girls Club of Chicago was built with community in mind. It was constructed on a shared campus that includes a first responders training Academy, and several minority-owned businesses. This was done with the needs of the Austin neighborhood in mind. As part of resident hiring requirements, more than 10,000 labor hours, (or just under 20 percent of the total project hours) were performed by residence of the Austin neighborhood and adjacent City wards.

CISCO Project of the Year

The northwest elevation showcasing main entrance and sculpture park in front of child-safe play area. © Tom Harris

BEAR work closely with its trade partners, ensuring this project was delivered within an aggressive schedule and tight budget constraints. There were ZERO recordable incidents with more than 50,000 labor hours worked. All materials used in this project focused on resiliency to ensuring the building would have limited maintenance and repair cost for at least 60 years.

The general contractor was BEAR Construction; the client was Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.


The top choice of Infrastructure projects went to Canal Street Plaza Reconstruction


CISCO Project of the Year

The Canal Street Plaza Reconstruction project was the capstone to JLL’s renovations of the old Post Office. Key to the project’s success was the ability to work with a range of stakeholders in a complex and heavily trafficked environment. Courtesy of F.H. Paschen.

Active community participation was insured through subcontractors and workforce, which comprise 42 percent city of Chicago residents. The owners M/WBE diversity goals were met with 12 percent of the contract cost going to women-owned businesses; and 26 percent going to minority-owned businesses.

The general contractors were F.H. Paschen; S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC; the client was Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).


Among Rehab projects, Congress Line – Track Improvements – Phase One was the top vote-getter

This $105 million rehabilitation project was the first phase of the CTA’s Forest Park branch rebuild, a multiyear, multiphase investment to make service, faster, safer, more reliable, and more accessible for all blue line riders. Work was planned on an aggressive timeline to minimize impacts to CTA ridership. Work was awarded with conditions that all work be completed within a 61-day complete blue line shut down, and re-opened to the public prior to the Chicago marathon.

CISCO Project of the Year

Kiewit and subcontractors worked 24-hour shifts, 7 days per week to complete the project within the prescribed Blue Line shut down period allowed by CTA. Photo credit: WSP – Construction Manager

CTA set a workforce participation goal of 10 percent workforce innovation and opportunity act (WIOA), which Kiewit achieved. Kiewit employed about 100 of its own craft, and the project employed more than 500, including subcontracted craft. Working more than 150,000 craft hours through the extended line, the project maintained a very good safety record with only one subcontractor recordable, and one contractor recordable.

The general contractor was Kiewit Infrastructure Co.; the client was the Chicago Transit Authority.


The top Residential project chosen was The Row Fulton Market

The Row Fulton Market is a:
– 43-story
– 500-foot tall
– 550,000 square foot luxury multifamily skyscraper in Fulton Market

CISCO Project of the Year

The building structure is composed of belled and top-of-rock caissons foundations with a post-tensioned concrete superstructure. Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, the podium enclosure includes decorative masonry, articulating metal panels, and glazing. Notably the tower window wall system carries the same metal articulation of profiles and arches all the way to the top of the building.

It includes 300 apartment residences on floors 2-43. The top 2 floors are reserved for six expansive 3- and 4-bedroom penthouse residences. The apartments feature spacious convertible, 1- 2- and 3-bedroom floor plans.

The Row was a groundbreaking project in many respects. An effective partnership enabled this project to break ground in diversity and equity.

General contractor was LR Contracting; the client was Related Midwest.


A Special Mention honor was given to Walsh Academy & Career Tech High School as the Community Partner Award

Opened in fall of this year, Walsh Sr. Academy and Career Tech High School focuses on preparing special education students to enter high demand, high-paying jobs in the trades for a successful future. Walsh Academy curriculum offers CTE instruction. It develops strong partnerships with contractors, Union organizations, including CISCO, and school districts to create internship and job opportunities for the students in their communities.

CISCO Project of the Year

The building had to be completely gutted. Multiple classrooms and offices, and the adaptation of several ground- and first-floor classrooms to accommodate shop classes with modifications to permit small engines and equipment to be transferred to and from the exterior. A new elevator within the building provides accessibility throughout the building. All new mechanical systems also were installed. Provided by MKB Architects 

The Walsh Academy building was completely gutted from roof to foundation. There wasn’t a single square inch that wasn’t touched by renovation. Upon 1st tour of the building, there was mold, debris, and vandalism EVERYWHERE. Included were multiple classrooms, shop classes, all new mechanicals, elevator, and modifications for small engines.

The general contractor was Wight Construction; the client was Maryville.


Individual award winners are:

Educator of the Year – Rita Cárdenas – Chicago Public Schools’ Career Pathway Specialist Office of Early College and Career Education
Public Body of the Year – Village of Tinley Park/Mayor Michael Glotz
Construction Advocate of the Year – Christina Wernick – Laner Muchin, Ltd.

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