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$60M Speed Art Museum Expansion Under Way

The art - and science - of a three-year multimillion dollar project.

Thu August 15, 2013 - Midwest Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

An art museum in Louisville, Ky., is currently at the beginning stages of a three-year, $60 million expansion project, with funding coming from private donations.

The construction manager is F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company, and the project manager is John Grosvenor. Construction began in July 2013 and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2015.

According to its Facebook page, the Speed Art Museum, originally known as the J. B. Speed Memorial Museum, is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum. It was founded in 1925 by Hattie Bishop Speed as a memorial to her husband, James Breckinridge Speed, a prominent Louisville businessman and philanthropist. It is currently closed for the construction project.

“The new 60,000-square-foot North Building will help create one of the finest experiential art museums in the country and will double the overall square footage and nearly triple the gallery space from the existing wing,” according to the Facebook page. The expansion will create a state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, new contemporary art galleries, a family education welcome center, indoor/outdoor café, museum shop, and a multifunctional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertaining. Additionally, the new Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park and public Piazza will be created for the display of sculpture that will engage University of Louisville students and faculty and museum visitors.”

Wilhelm is the construction manager for the Speed Art Museum expansion and renovation projects. The North and South buildings are both structural steel and concrete framed buildings with exterior curtain wall and metal panel enclosure systems. Both are designed to have new museum gallery space and public areas for gatherings. Additionally, the South building will house a 150-seat theater featuring 16mm, 35mm, and digital film. The project also includes renovation of the interior building spaces still under design.

Previously completed phases include the enabling project, which involved installation of an underground detention system, and the central utility building (CUB) and decommissioning of existing systems project, which involved a new utility building constructed to upgrade to cost-saving energy efficient systems for the existing and new buildings.

“This is a phased project, so scheduling and contractor sequencing and coordination is of utmost importance and concern,” said Grosvenor. “Limited access and material laydown compounded by local utility work being completed in conjunction with our project create a challenge.”

Grosvenor noted that a unique aspect of the project is the use of architectural board formed concrete walls that have not been used in that area before.

“The curtainwall has integrated AESS (architectural exposed structural steel) structural steel that supports both the curtainwall and interior grand stair case,” he said. “Special frit glass is incorporated as light screening in lieu of window treatment. The building is surrounded by a courtyard water feature with black granite reflecting pools.”

Major subcontractors include ABG Caulking & Waterproofing of Morristown Inc., Morrristown, Tenn., for interior caulk; Architectural Glass & Metal Co., Indianapolis, Ind., for curtainwall and glass; Beaty Construction Inc., Boggstown, Ind., for earth retention; Booms Stone Company, Redford, Mich., for the water feature; Brown & Kubican PSC, Lexington, Ky., structural engineer; wHY Architecture, Culver City, Cal.; Clark Nickles Inc., Charlestown, Ind., for demolition, excavation, and site utilities; Cunningham Door & Window, Louisville, Ky., for overhead doors; and Division Seven Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., for waterproofing and firestopping.

Executive Residential Elevator LLC, dba Executive Elevator, Louisville, for elevators; F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc., Indianapolis, for concrete; Henderson Services LLC, Louisville, for electrical; Howell & Howell Contractors Inc., Louisville, for painting; Independent Piping Inc., Sellerburg, Ind., for mechanical / HVAC; John L. Carman Associates, Lexington, Ky., civil engineer; and K. Norman Berry Associates Architects, Louisville, architect.

Kerr-Greulich Engineers Inc., Louisville, engineers; Martin Flooring Co. Inc., Louisville, for wood flooring; MG McGrath Inc., Maplewood, Minn., for metal panels; Midland Electric Company, Louisville, for electrical; Midwest Sprinkler Corporation, Louisville, for fire protection; Parco Constructors Group LLC, Louisville, for general trades; Poynter Sheet Metal, Bloomington, Ind., for HVAC (dry); PPMI Firestop Inc., Greenfield, Ind., for firestopping; Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company, Louisville, for hard flooring; Stone City Ironworks Inc., Bedford, Ind., for structural steel; Terracon Consultants Inc., Louisville, for special inspections; and Walker Mechanical Contractors Inc., Louisville, for plumbing and HVAC (wet).

Major equipment used on the job includes a Caterpillar 330B hydraulic excavator, a Link-Belt 460LX hydraulic excavator, a Genie S-50 personnel lift, a Lull 644B, a Caterpillar 235 hydraulic excavator, a Case backhoe 590, and a Cat 304 mini-excavator.

While the museum was closed for a renovation project in 1996, a bequest of more than $50 million was given by Alice Speed Stoll, granddaughter of James Breckinridge Speed. According to the museum’s Web site, the bequest marks one of the largest given to any art museum and significantly increased the Speed’s endowment, ranking it among the top 25 in the United States.

“Since reopening in November 1997, the Speed has dazzled the region with exciting traveling exhibitions, new acquisitions to the permanent collection, and a new parking garage,” the Web site said. “The museum is supported entirely by donations, endowments, grants, ticket sales, and memberships. The focus of the collection is Western art, from antiquity to the present day. Holdings of paintings from the Netherlands, French and Italian works, and contemporary art are particularly strong, with sculpture prominent throughout. Representative artists include Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Giovanni Tiepolo, Henry Moore, Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and contemporary artists Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, Alice Neel, Petah Coyne, Yinka Shonibare, Vito Acconci, and Juan Munoz.”

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