Celebrating 100 Years: Worth 1,000 Words

July 20th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Worth 1,000 Words: Our Story in Pictures

While Berglund was restoring the Kluczynski Federal Building in 2006, Berglund Superintendent Tony Slavic encountered an unexpected visitor on the building’s 43-story-high roof – a bewildered raccoon.  The escapade landed Slavic and the critter on the cover of the Chicago Sun-Times.


Celebrating 100 Years: A Rich History

July 19th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Restoration

Center on Halsted

Situated in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, the Center on Halsted is a community center that embraces the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. The center also features another piece of local history – the original 1920s terra cotta façade from the previous building on the site, which Berglund painstakingly salvaged and reapplied to the new building.

The old building was originally an auto dealership and showroom, and the city later used it as a garage. Though Center on Halsted chose to construct a new building on the site instead of using the old one, it recognized the historic value of the original building’s façade. Berglund dismantled, documented, stored and reconstructed the terra cotta on the new center, which features a rooftop garden, community technology center and meeting rooms, and performing arts space. Reusing the historic façade helped the center earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification while also giving a nod to the area’s roots.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Hub of Culture

July 18th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Construction

‘You! The Experience,’ Museum of Science and Industry

The building overlooking Lake Michigan at 57th Street in Chicago has been a hub of education and culture for more than 100 years. Originally the Palace of Fine Arts building, it’s the only structure left standing from the 1893 Columbian Exposition. In 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry moved into the space, eventually becoming the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Chicago gave the historic building landmark status in 1995, and Berglund played a part in shaping the structure for future generations.

Museum officials tapped Berglund to renovate the museum’s east wing to prepare it for “You! The Experience.” The interactive exhibit explores how our biological makeup affects our life experiences, giving visitors a chance to watch a giant heart replica beat in time with their own, run inside a human-size hamster wheel or see what their faces might look like in 20 years. Berglund provided preconstruction and construction services to the museum, completing the 15,000-square-foot renovation in 14 months.

Celebrating 100 Years: The Way We Were

July 17th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

The Way We Were: It’s the Law

Even when you take all the proper precautions, construction can be a dangerous job. Fortunately, workers have the law on their side. During the time Berglund’s been in business, workers who are injured or get sick because of their jobs have seen their legal protections grow considerably.

In the early 20th century, just a handful of states had worker’s compensation laws in place. Maryland was the first state to pass a worker’s compensation law, and a law covering federal employees passed in 1906. By the late 1940s, each state in America had enacted one. These laws protect injured or ill workers by allowing them to collect money for lost wages and medical bills without having to prove their employers were at fault. In exchange, workers must agree not to sue their employers for negligence.

Worker’s comp systems vary from state to state – in Texas, for example, employers can opt out of the system altogether, but must carry their own insurance. In other cases, municipalities have formed special funds for construction workers in particularly dangerous conditions, such as the fund for 9/11 site cleanup workers sickened by toxins. Under the law, workers also have the option to decline worker’s compensation and pursue a claim in court. Even if the construction industry can’t eliminate accidents and illnesses completely, it works to ensure that each laborer is cared for properly.

Celebrating 100 Years: In Their Own Words

July 16th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

In Their Own Words: The University of Chicago Hospitals

“I am sending you this letter of thanks for the efforts of your superintendent Chuck and his restoration crew for assisting in the apprehension of a suspected felon in the Franklin McLean Memorial Research Institute loading dock area. … Chuck identified the person as someone who had been stealing power tools from construction job sites throughout Hyde Park, and was therefore a safety risk to the University of Chicago. Once the suspect was identified, Chuck immediately contacted a member of the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH) Security Department and, along with the restoration crew, detained the individual until the University of Chicago Police Department arrived.

“Berglund has been doing an excellent job of restoring the facades at UCH; however, this effort was clearly above and beyond their normal duties and exemplifies the true partnership between Berglund and UCH.”

–Vice president; Facilities, Design & Construction; The University of Chicago Hospitals. Berglund has worked on construction and restoration projects on the university’s campus for nearly 50 years.

Celebrating 100 Years: The Keys to Preservation

July 15th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Restoration

U.S. Custom House

The main lesson to learn from our restoration of Chicago’s U.S. Custom House? Investigation, perseverance and technology are the keys to preservation.

When Berglund was tapped to handle the restoration of U.S. Custom House, the General Services Administration (GSA)-owned building needed significant work. Built in 1932 and clad in limestone, aluminum, granite and glass, more than 300 of the building’s limestone panels were cracked or flaking. While the original scope of work called for replacing all the broken panels, we thought that approach was neither environmentally nor historically sound. We proposed an alternative that would save as much of the stone as possible, and got the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office’s OK on the new plan.

Careful handling and identification helped us to preserve many of the limestone panels originally destined for removal. We tested the salvaged panels to determine the components of the original grout and mortar and the quarry where the limestone had been sourced, then used identical matches in our repairs. Unsalvageable limestone was ground up for use in road construction and landscaping.

Our creative approach to U.S. Custom House’s restoration didn’t go unnoticed. The project won the GSA’s 2006 National Conservation Award and 2004 Construction Waste Management Award, as well as a certificate of construction excellence from the government agency.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Nourishing Environment

July 14th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Construction

Namaste Charter School

Namaste Charter School on Chicago’s Southwest Side believes in nourishing the mind and body of each child. Part of that nourishment is providing students with a safe, up-to-date learning environment, and Namaste turned to Berglund for help creating a building that fit the bill.

Berglund built a four-story, 12,000-square-foot addition to Namaste and renovated 40,000 square feet of existing space, installing a new sprinkler system, HVAC, and mechanical and electrical upgrades. Namaste’s cramped site footprint and the building’s deteriorating conditions posed some construction challenges for Berglund, and we took every precaution to ensure the premises remained safe for Namaste’s students and staff. We met with school management daily to map out safe building entrances and exits for the day, and planned construction around Namaste’s calendar year, completing work during non-school days as often as possible.

As a result, Namaste was able to stay open during construction with minimal disruptions – even the cafeteria continued to operate. Berglund did it all while staying within Namaste’s strict $7 million budget, completing construction in 2010. Now, Namaste’s updated building sets the stage for successful learning for each student.

Celebrating 100 Years: In Their Own Words

July 13th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

In Their Own Words: Southwest Women Working Together

“The Berglund organization knew the value of every dollar we had to spend, and they protected it. … We don’t build buildings very often. As a matter of fact, for many of us, (this project) was a once-in-a-lifetime construction experience. Fortunately, we had Berglund (and) its people, services, commitment and integrity.”

–Shelley Hughley, executive director, Southwest Women Working Together. Berglund managed the construction of the group’s women’s shelter on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Celebrating 100 Years: Science Meets Beauty

July 12th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Restoration

Wilson Hall, Fermilab

Fermilab’s founding director, Robert Wilson, believed that beauty and science went hand in hand. A renowned physicist as well as an artist and sculptor, Wilson wanted visitors to the national laboratory’s Batavia, Ill., campus to marvel at its design, along with the scientific breakthroughs happening there.

Fermilab’s administrative building, built in 1972 and named after Wilson, honored its namesake’s vision. The building features distinctive symmetrical towers that curve and sweep gracefully into the air. By the late 1990s, though, the beautiful structure needed some work. Temperature shifts over the years had caused the buildings, which are tied together by post-tensioned concrete beams at the seventh through 16th floors, to move more than the original design had anticipated. As a result, the structure’s beams were deteriorating, the exterior was chipping, the entrance plaza was cracking and the waterproofing system was failing.

The laboratory hired Berglund to restore Wilson Hall, and Berglund spent 15 months returning the building to its former glory. We repaired the crossover beams and the exterior, installed a waterproofing membrane on the balconies, and sealed the façade. Berglund performed all work at night to minimize disruptions to Fermilab, and the lab used a webcam to broadcast the renovation’s progress on its website. After completing work in 2001, we took home the 2002 Award of Excellence from the International Concrete Repair Institute. The restoration also was one of the featured government projects in Midwest Construction Review’s 2003 Illinois Showcase.

Celebrating 100 Years: Total Well-being in the Community’s Backyard

July 11th, 2011

What does it take to reach 100? As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we’re posting a piece of Berglund’s history on our blog each day for 100 days. Check in each day to learn new tidbits about our company, win prizes based on your Berglund knowledge, and, most of all, to help us celebrate.

Spotlight on Berglund’s Work: Construction

Ingalls Family Care Center

A gym, a spa, massage rooms, a retail pharmacy … the list of amenities at Ingalls Memorial Hospital’s Family Care Center rivals that of an upscale shopping center. While Ingalls’ flagship hospital is in Harvey, Ill., the Family Care Center in nearby Flossmoor, Ill., is part of Ingalls’ strategy to bring total well-being closer to the communities it serves.

Berglund spent 14 months constructing the 80,000-square-foot Family Care Center, completing the facility in 2005. One of the largest construction projects that Flossmoor officials had ever accommodated, the $15 million center required significant site infrastructure before Berglund could begin building. The center’s sophisticated design includes enhanced natural lighting throughout the building and customized physician offices on the second floor. A 24-hour urgent aid center, lab and imaging center, physical and occupational therapy gym, medical spa, and space for sleep studies round out the services now available to community residents right in their backyards. The project snagged the 2006 Merit Award for Healthcare Facilities from the Midwest Construction Review.