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1/13/2013 10:55:00 AM
Catholic contractors honored for museum project
Photo by Josh Partee
Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, Maryhill Museum of Art
Photo by Josh Partee
Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, Maryhill Museum of Art

GOLDENDALE, Wash. — The contractors who led restoration of St. Mary Cathedral and other Oregon Catholic buildings were recognized for the construction of a new wing at Maryhill Museum of Art here.

The museum’s new Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing was honored as Engineering News Record Northwest's 2012 Best Project. The expansion was also awarded ENR's Best Cultural / Worship Project in the Northwest in 2012.

Jurors selected Maryhill Museum of Art’s expansion as overall Project of the Year, representing the best work across all categories.

“The building is aesthetically beautiful, but what people don’t see is that it had a high degree of challenge in terms of construction and engineering. That may not be immediately apparent to visitors, but it was apparent to our jury,” said Bruce Buckley, editor of ENR.

Brothers Steve, Craig and Bob Schommer run the company, which was started by their father Andy in 1937.

The $9.5 million expansion was the first in the museum’s history and the largest cultural capital project in the Columbia River Gorge in 15 years.

One of the wing’s most remarkable engineering features is a cantilevered deck that extends out over the Gorge nearly 20 feet in some places. During construction, the Schommer & Sons crew spent nearly two months excavating the fractured basalt on site. This is the type of hard, dense stone that the entire Gorge is carved from. After that, creating the cantilever required immense construction coordination and technical framework, including an intricate system of shoring to support the high-strength concrete while it cured in place.

GBD Architects of Portland designed the Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing.

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