Work is well underway on a modern and innovative $350 million satellite production facility near Denver that will belong to aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
“There are two phases to this project,” says David Brooke, project manager with Hensel Phelps Construction, the company building the 226,000 square foot building.
“Altogether, we are about 60 percent complete,” continues Brooke, noting that the “first phase has all the structural steel, the roofing is nearly complete, as is the building enclosure.”
The Greeley, Colorado-based Hensel Phelps began work on what is being called the Gateway Center in the summer of 2017, building a handsome structure that will house, among other things, an advanced test operations and analysis center, a thermal vacuum chamber to simulate space’s harsh environment, and an anechoic chamber for the testing of sensors and communications systems.
The facility, going up on Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Canyon campus, will see, after its anticipated 2020 opening, the assembly, integration, and testing of national security, scientific, and commercial satellites.
In choosing Hensel Phelps to build the next-generation satellite production facility, the Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin decided to go with an experienced entity known for its path-breaking big project public and private sector work.
“We’ve worked with Hensel Phelps on other large construction and renovation projects on our Denver campus,” notes Matthew Kramer, the director of external communications for Lockheed Martin. “These include a significant expansion of one of our existing manufacturing buildings and a renovation and update of another existing engineering facility.”
Launched in Greely in 1937 by native Hensel Phelps, the company’s work is seen in thousands of projects throughout Colorado and the country, chalking up, in the process, double-digit revenue growth numbers even during the depths of the Great Recession.
Earlier this year, the Engineering News-Record placed Hensel Phelps on its top 20 U.S.-based contractors list for the preceding year, noting that the company had more than $13.5 billion in active projects as of the end of 2017.
Those numbers, said the publication, are the natural result of Hensel Phelps’ continued prominence in “growing sectors such as technology components and public transportation.”
“It’s hard to avoid entering a major building in Greeley not built by Hensel Phelps Construction Company,” a reporter for the Greeley Daily Tribune noted in 1976, listing a long number of university, public school, hospital and retail space projects the company had successfully completed in its home town.
But that all-encompassing record in the years since has spread well beyond Greeley’s confines, particularly in metro Denver where Hensel Phelps has built such high-profile projects as the expansive downtown shopping mall Denver Pavilions; the more than 100,000 square foot Downtown Aquarium; and the Elitch Gardens Theme and Family Water Park, an ever-expanding amusement park that has regularly attracted more than one million people annually.
The company has also successfully taken on the 1.1 million square foot Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center; the massive Colorado Convention Center and its subsequent expansion; and the nine-story, 300,000 square foot Denver Health 601 Broadway Hospital Support Services Building.
“We have always had a lot of work going on throughout Colorado,” says Hensel Phelps’ Brooke, noting that the corporate office, through the decades, has remained in Greeley.
“But we also have an office in Denver,” continues Brooke, “as well as district offices across the country.”
Those offices, Brooke noted, are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and Virginia.
Hensel Phelps’ work beyond the Centennial State has seen it on schedule to complete the $250 million main terminal curbside expansion of the Tampa International Airport; the $675 million South Terminal Complex at the Orlando International Airport; and $9.2 million gates 29 and 30 expansion of the San Jose International Airport.
In a celebration of the firm’s 80th anniversary last year published by the Engineering News-Record, Jeffrey Wenaas, the current CEO of Hensel Phelps, noted that Joseph Phelps, the son of the company’s founder, once attributed the company’s success to the caliber of its employees.
“His philosophy was that if you hired the best people, they would take care of the business,” Wenaas said, before adding of the company’s current roster of more than 3,000 employees: “I agree with that wholeheartedly. Our financial strength and longevity are direct results of the pride of ownership our employees take in every job, large or small.”
By Garry Boulard
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