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St. Louis

Plans for New St. Louis Recreation Park Announced

in Associations/News

St. Louis Recreation Development Group, Inc., a St. Louis-based not-for-profit and 501©3, announces Spirit of Discovery Park. The organization was established in 2016 with the vision of creating a 100% inclusive amusement park designed for every BODY.  Its Board of Directors has taken on the monumental task of creating a uniquely focused entertainment and amusement park designed specifically for people with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities as well as special needs from the ground up. The destination will have rides, attractions, a greenhouse, gardens, amphitheater sensory areas, a splash park and an ice rink with access designed for everyone in tennis shoes to wheelchairs.

This approximately 35- acre theme park will be centrally located in metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri.   With the assistance of Washington University School of Medicine’s Program in Occupational Therapy students and the creative team, Wonderland Development Group, of San Antonio, Texas, the 70 plots of land has been researched and narrowed in scope for Spirit of Discovery Park’s team to then utilize the experiences, concepts and connections from both organizations, in order to make our offering as safe, efficient, and accessible as possible.

One of the most exciting attractions will be Spirit of Discovery Park’s ice rink. On-ice programs include a future home for the St. Louis Blues Blind Hockey Club. In partnership with the St. Louis Blues®, the facility will bring a full range of ice sports for athletes both with and without special needs or disabilities, including figure skating, curling, sled hockey and public skating.

The Ride-Along Adventure allows wheelchair passengers and their companions to enjoy an authentic off-road experience while the train and train depot contain custom-built cars and wheelchair ramps that accommodate all guests with ease.  The River Boat Adventure ride will twist and turn through landscapes and recreations of local attractions in a vintage looking paddle-wheeler that pays homage to St. Louis’ rich river history.

The 5 ½ story Ferris Wheel includes 12 gondolas accommodating wheelchairs, children and adults while offering a panoramic view of the entire park.  The indoor and outdoor interactive Sensory Areas will be filled with exciting experiences for all ages and abilities to enjoy.  The musical and colorful Carousel includes specially-designed “chariots” moving our wheel-chaired guests up and down on the merry-go-round.

Open each Summer, Spirit of Discovery’s Splash Park includes many innovative adaptations for those with special needs. Wheelchair visitors, who may not have been able to enjoy a splash park anywhere else, will now have the opportunity to transfer from their own chairs to waterproof wheelchairs while warm-water splash pads provide for guests with aversion to cooler water temperatures.  The Splash Park will give all of our guests the chance to make great summer memories with their family and friends, just like everyone else.

Need a little break?   Playgrounds, pavilions and picnic areas will provide relaxing areas for guests to enjoy. Visitors will also be able to purchase local fares of food, snacks and beverages or even bring their own!

In addition, the Rooftop Greenhouse at Spirit of Discovery Park, will be a tribute to our Veterans. The Greenhouse at Spirit of Discovery Park is being built to provide a safe, stress-free environment for our Veterans as they transition back into civilian life. Managed entirely by former military men and women, this indoor environment will be surrounded by the natural sounds of trickling water and sunlight. Guests will be offered the chance to interact with our Aeroponic Vertical Gardens throughout the Park, giving witness to the sustainable, organic, and nutrient dense growing environment – a glimpse, and a touch of the future of technology and agriculture.

Jamie Vann, President and Executive Director of St. Louis Recreation Development Group, Inc., shares her vision: “We NEED to build this destination that offers families the opportunity to make memories, otherwise thought to be impossible; where the young and young at heart can come and enjoy no matter their ability!”

“Local and national business sponsorships and donors will provide the operational support and maintenance costs, making our park a reality” explains Vann.  “We have a multitude of different sponsorship opportunities both in and around the park.  Every ride, attraction and venue can be utilized to promote our partnerships while showing support for our project.”

The Park’s admission policy will be such that any person of disability or special need, will be admitted FREE of charge. Adults and children of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy multiple aspects of this truly unique park.

Spirit of Discovery Park is a local, nonprofit, organization established in 2016. For more information or additional opportunities to support, please visit www.spiritofdiscoverypark.com.

McGrath & Associates Begins Work on Upgrades at Christian Hospital in St. Louis

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News

McGrath & Associates has begun work on elevator and mechanical upgrades at Christian Hospital in north St. Louis County. The projects include two elevator upgrades, a new air handling unit and electrical distribution upgrades. McGrath is the design/build contractor for the elevators and is providing value engineering, preconstruction and construction services on the other projects.

Construction is underway on two original traction elevators that McGrath is modernizing in the five-story Paul F. Detrick Building. McGrath will sequence construction so that one elevator remains in operation at all times. McGrath follows strict safety protocol when working around elevator shafts, and implements isolation and infection prevention measures in occupied health care areas to ensure a clean and safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. The design/build elevator project is scheduled for completion in August 2018.

The air handling and electrical distribution upgrades currently are in pre-construction, with construction expected to begin in August 2018. McGrath will replace the air handling unit serving the Christian Hospital operating room suite with a more energy-efficient, higher capacity unit. The existing air handler will be removed from the mechanical room and a new unit will be installed on the exterior of the building. The architect for the air handling unit project is Lawrence Group and the engineer is McClure Engineering.

Moving the air handling unit will provide space in the mechanical room for new electrical switchgear for the electrical distribution upgrades project. The engineer for the electrical upgrades is Heideman Associates.


McGrath & Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, health care, industrial, institutional and pharmaceutical construction projects since 1983.  For more information, call Ken Knobbe at (314) 772-7600 or visit www.mcgrathconstruction.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.35 Million to Bolster Manufacturing and Manufacturing-related Workforce Training in St. Louis

in Companies/News

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.35 million grant to Ranken Technical College of St. Louis, Missouri, to establish an incubator facility that will support the region’s manufacturing sector by providing pre-apprentice and apprenticeship workforce training, and encouraging entrepreneurial start-ups. According to grantee estimates, when fully operational, 100 student workers will generate $4 million annually in products and services for local businesses as part of the integrated work-based learning model.

“Reviving our manufacturing sector and ensuring that our workers have the skills they need to compete globally are key focuses of the Trump Administration,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I look forward to seeing how Ranken Technical College will help budding manufacturers establish their businesses and train the next generation of workers to support the local economy.”

The incubator, which will be located adjacent to Ranken’s main campus, will engage with local manufacturing partners to provide students with work experience, industrial training and certifications, college credits and/or a part-time salary. Through Ranken Microenterprises, students will be assigned to industry sponsored work cells to manufacture their products/services.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis Development Corporation. EDA helped fund the completion of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and St. Louis Development Corporation Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov<http://www.eda.gov>)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

Retail Designer CSG Expands St. Louis Presence

in Companies

Core States Group, which has renovated and built a number of familiar retail and restaurant venues in St. Louis, is growing its business.   With relocation and construction assistance of Artisan Building Co., Core States Group has moved into an expanded St. Louis branch office at 6500 Chippewa Street.  Artisan completed the $500,000 renovation in the building formerly known as the St. Louis Hills Office Center to create a more collaborative space for Core States, where it plans to grow its work force by 50 percent or more in the coming years.

Core States Group is a national architecture, engineering and construction firm.  It first opened its St. Louis office in September 2003, occupying 2,200 square feet of space in the Crestwood Executive Center building in Crestwood, Mo. until this past August.

Locally, Core States Group has been a part of the design team for more than 150 newly built or renovated Panera Bread restaurants throughout the U.S. and has also helped deliver services for hundreds of newly built or renovated locations for McDonald’s, Hardee’s, and 7 Eleven, among other clients.  The firm has helped introduce a number of restaurant and retail conveniences to the public including double drive-through service at area McDonalds and has designed and engineered conveniences for Panera customers including drive-through service and quick service kiosks inside the restaurant.

Nationally, Core States Group recorded $78 million in revenue in 2015.  The firm is reporting revenues of $84 million in 2016.

“We always saw St. Louis as a growth market for Core States Group, but the Great Recession slowed our progress,” said Patrick T. Bennett, P.E., branch manager for Core States Group.  “We’ve been able to re-energize our business plan with our seasoned staff, add more architects and engineers and are looking to add more.”  Nationally, Core States Group grew by 36 percent over the past year, employing 300 employees to date.

To accommodate its growth and hiring needs, Core States Group worked with Artisan to find a suitable branch headquarters and create a more collaborative environment for its workforce.  “Artisan is not just a builder, but also a firm that makes it their mission to understand your business goals,” said Bennett.  “The firm was invaluable in helping us find our new office in an urban community and help us execute our vision of the space we need to attract the best and brightest talent.”

The firm occupies all 5,000 square feet of the second floor of their new space in a studio setting with open office space to capitalize on design elements that encourage greater collaboration among engineers and architects.  That includes clear site lines, a strategically placed kitchen to encourage interaction with workers, and small and large conference rooms for more private meetings.  An abundance of natural light from windows floods the interior, creating a more healthy work environment.

To leverage the skills from Core States Group’s 14 offices nationwide, the branch office is infused with technology for virtual meetings to tap expertise from the firm’s 300 professionals.

Founded in 1999, Core States Group originally provided engineering and project management services for the retail petroleum industry.

Modjeski & Masters Rehabs Union Station Tunnel Project Will Improve MetroLink Commuter Rail Services in St. Louis

in Companies/News

modjeski-masters-logoThe bridge design and engineering firm Modjeski and Masters announces that it will perform engineering services required for the rehabilitation and replacement of the oldest portions of the Union Station Tunnel in St. Louis, Mo. The work will help to maintain a viable alignment for Bi-State Development’s MetroLink commuter rail services and provide continued access to 18th and Clark Streets and surrounding destinations such as the St. Louis Union Station, the Peabody Opera House and the Scottrade Center. The project will employ a construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) delivery model where the preliminary design team works with the CM/GC to complete contract documents and oversee construction.

Modjeski and Masters has collaborated with Metro to inspect and repair the Union Station Tunnel since 2005. During that time, Modjeski and Masters has become intimately familiar with the existing structure configuration, structural issues and drainage concerns. Modjeski and Masters also understands Metro’s safety concerns and desire to conduct work with minimal disruption to rail traffic. With this latest project, Modjeski and Masters will focus on rehabilitating and replacing the oldest portions of the tunnel.

“The rehabilitation of the Union Station Tunnel presents several unique technical challenges,” said Michael F. Britt, PE, Senior Vice President and Director of Business Development at Modjeski and Masters. “With extensive experience working with contractors on behalf of owners to streamline the construction process and deliver projects more efficiently and effectively, our expert project staff is uniquely positioned to address these challenges and help Metro complete this project on time and under budget.”

Originally built in 1902 by the Terminal Railroad Association, the steel frame portion of the tunnel served as subway access for the 36 rail lines entering St. Louis Union Station. In 1929, the subway tunnel was lengthened to the west by extending the steel framing to the width of the overhead train shed and adding a concrete slab and column segment. When Metro initiated service in the 1990s, a two-cell reinforced concrete box culvert segment was constructed to extend the alignment west. Today, the Union Station Tunnel crosses beneath the St. Louis Union Station parking lot, five sets (four active) of excursion train tracks and 20th and 21st Streets.

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