Pikes Peak Summit Complex Newsletter 
July 2020
Pikes Peak Summit Complex - July 2020 Construction Update Tour
Visitor's Center 2020 Tour - Pikes Peak America's Mountain
CLICK HERE to view video

Work on new Pikes Peak Summit Complex progresses at 14,115 feet
Halfway into 2020, work is about 50 percent done on the new visitor's center, which, at 38,000 square feet, will be more than twice the size of the current Summit House, built in 1963
Upon arriving at the top of Pikes Peak, visitors might not expect to see a bustling construction site in the middle of the breathtaking views they came for.

Sometimes they pass by workers clad in hard hats and neon vests, like the site's project manager Rob Clough, and ask, "What are you guys doing up here?"  The answer is impossible to miss. A crew of 100 from GE Johnson spend each day working on the $60 million structure that will soon be the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex.

"Guests can feel how hard it is to breathe up here," Clough said on a recent morning atop the 14,115-foot (4,302-meter) mountain. "They're so impressed seeing the amount of work going on."

Halfway into 2020, he said work is about 50% done on the new Visitor Center, which, at 38,000 square feet (3,530 square meters), will be more than twice the size of the current Summit House, built in 1963. The complex is expected to open by spring of 2021, a date that is months behind the previous plan of this fall.

Since beginning in 2018, construction has hit delays mostly because of occasional bursts of cold and blustery weather such as 65 mph (104 kph) winds, lightning, snow and hail, Clough said.  "Late June was rough with these afternoon lightning storms," he said. "By 1 o' clock every day, it killed our ability to continue working."
When that happens, workers are back by 5:30 a.m. the next day to be shuttled up America's Mountain and keep working.  "I tell them every day to be proud of this," Clough said. "It's once in a lifetime."

The coronavirus outbreak hasn't affected progress, Clough said, as construction was deemed an essential activity.

Much of 2019 was spent on getting the facility's primary structure up.  Now, Clough said the goal within the next few months is to complete the exterior of the building, including installing glass windows that will provide unobstructed views of Mount Rosa and beyond. The glass being used has been tested to withstand 240 mph (386 kph) winds.  "This year, we're very energized and focused on closing up the building," he said. "And then we'll be able to get more into the final touches."

The top floor of the Summit House will house the kitchen, dining areas, retail center and open-air decks. The building will also feature interactive displays and exhibits pertaining to the history of Pikes Peak.
If all goes according to plan, the building will be LEED certified as well as up to standards of the Living Building Challenge, described on its website as "the most rigorous green building standard ever."

A concrete walkway system, following ADA regulations, will connect guests to the Summit House as well as north, east and west overlooks. It will also connect to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which is currently closed and under repair.

Throughout the complex, crews have used rustic-looking steel and concrete that matches the color of Pikes Peak's rocks and boulders.  "It's important to maintain the natural beauty," Clough said. "We want it to look almost the same as when we started."

A short walk away from the power tools and heavy machinery, visitors were taking photos in front of the popular Pikes Peak Summit sign and carrying bags of doughnuts out of the existing Summit House, which is about 12,000 square feet (1,115 square meters).

"The building was built in the '60s and it has served its purpose over that time," said Jack Glavan, manager of Pikes Peak America's Mountain, an enterprise of Colorado Springs. "It has exceeded its life."  The new complex will be an upgrade in more ways than one, said Glavan. It will offer more space and activities for visitors. And it will offer, most important, spectacular views.  "You don't want to out-mountain the mountain," he said. "Pikes Peak is iconic. The building is just going to enhance it."
Pikes Peak Is My Mountain: "It's Where I Look For The Way Forward"
Provided by KRCC
Lt. Col. Matt Cavanaugh. Photo taken during a race a few weeks after he completed in the Pikes Peak Marathon - an event he says changed his life forever. 
Photo courtesty Matt Cavanaugh 

Our '"My Mountain" series continues as we highlight people's personal connections to Pikes Peak. CLICK HERE to hear from Lieutenant Colonel Matt Cavanaugh. He's stationed at Peterson Air Force Base and reached out to share his perspective of America's Mountain as well as a bit of history.

Pikes Peak's our North Star.  It's always there. The light on top even looks like a star.  We use it to find our way when we get lost.  And it put my life back on track.

Twelve years ago, after brutal personal failures - an important relationship and dropping out of law school - I had a quarter-life crisis.

So I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon. The way out of my life's ditch was to climb up. Toward the finish, this  "lightning bolt" hit me. I cried. It was this insight - like, "if I can run this thing, I can get past anything."  It was a turning point. I was down. I came back up.

Later, my family and I moved to Manitou, a mile from the mountain.

The Rocky Mountain Columbine. 

Whether it's the mountain itself or the trailblazers that climbed before, Pikes Peak is my mountain because it's where I look for the way forward.

CLICK HERE for a version of this essay also ran in The Gazette Sunday, July 12.
New Cog Railway taking shape on Pikes Peak

One of the region's top tourist attractions is on track to return in approximately one year.

In May, Construction crews laid the first rail for the new Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which has started to take shape at the top of Pikes Peak and will stretch 8.9 miles down the mountain to its depot in Manitou Springs.

The new Cog Railway, whose $100 million price tag includes a refurbished depot, three new engines and nine new train cars, is on pace to meet a previously announced reopening in May 2021, said Ted Johnston, the railway's assistant general manager. 

"We've been building up to this and just wanted to get going," Johnston said of the initial track installation. "Now that we are, it's kind of like a little relief. But at the same time, it's very exciting."
The laying of the first new rail marks a milestone in the return of the Cog Railway, whose scenic treks to the summit of Pikes Peak began in 1891 and which became one of the area's premier tourist draws over several decades, carrying upward of 2,300 passengers a day during peak times in the summer.

CLICK HERE to read more.
Only in Colorado: Where a day at the office means working at 14,000 feet!
Provided by OurCommunityNow.com

The top of Pikes Peak sees a lot of traffic as it's one of the most sought-after destinations for outdoorsy folks and visitors to the state. What many who make it to the top might see along with the mountain views and Colorado landscapes is a construction site with a team of 100 construction workers toiling away at the very top of the mountain. The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex is being built to replace the existing  Pikes Peak Summit House  and promises a new and immersive visitor experience. 

When completed, the Summit Complex will be a 38,000-square-foot building valued at about $60 million. It will offer more space for visitors, huge glass-plate windows, an open-air deck, dining, retail, and interactive displays. There will be a concrete walkway system to take visitors to different overlooks and connect to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. 

The construction site is a landmark of sorts, all by itself; it's the highest on-going construction site in North America. Now, about 50 percent complete work on the project began in 2018 and was expected to take three or so years to fully finish, but there have been some delays due to weather, including powerful winds, snow, and thunderstorms. Work can only be done a few months of the year when weather permits; late fall to late spring offers the best conditions. 

With a worksite at 14,115 feet, construction company  GE Johnson  faced some different working conditions for this job than most of their other job sites. Working at the top of a 14er presents some challenges that must be dealt with to keep workers safe and produce the best possible end result. All crew members must undergo an extensive physical to make sure they are in shape to work in this kind of extreme environment, including a flexibility test and a Harvard Step fitness assessment. Once they pass these tests, crew members attend an orientation and safety briefing for the special safety measures needed for working at such a high altitude. The workday starts before dawn, and every day begins with a trek up the mountain to the highest worksite many of them have or ever will work at. 

Along with special training, GE Johnson uses special equipment, including a truck purchased specially for this job that navigates the switchbacks and turns up Pikes Peak while hauling materials to the top. The Summit Complex project is working to be LEED-certified as well as meet Living Building Challenge requirements. This is the first Living Building Challenge project in the state of Colorado-the compound has a bioclimatic design for Net Zero energy. CLICK HERE to learn more about that  here .


While construction is deemed a critical activity by the state, we are taking extra precautions to keep our Pikes Peak project team safe. Posters from the Center for Disease Center hang onsite to remind workers to stay home if they are sick, be diligent regarding handwashing, and practice social distancing. Practices for this site includes increased cleaning of site common areas and Personal Protective Equipment; staggered start times and mealtimes; and dispersed work groups of ten people or less. Project leadership continues to track and follow federal, state, and local healthcare guidance to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
King Soopers is committed to helping communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations earn thousands of dollars through King Soopers Community Rewards. This year, King Soopers has selected the Pikes Peak Summit Complex to participate in this program.

Sign up here to link your King Soopers loyalty card to the Pikes Peak ID (VN950). Every time you shop, King Soopers donates to the project at no cost to you. Once logged into your King Soopers or City Market account you can search for Pikes Peak Summit Complex Fund either by name or VN950 and then click Enroll. New users will need to create an account which requires minimal basic information, a valid email address and a loyalty card. Your King Soopers card can also be used at any Kroger Store nationwide.  For step-by step directions, see these  FAQs

July construction updates:
  • Erecting the north overlook boardwalk system
  • Installing lobby roof which includes insulation, drain board, protective membrane and standing seam metal roof
  • Great progress on waterproofing of the building
  • Interior duct work 
  • Wall rough-in and electric room build out continues
  • Mechanical equipment and systems installed at the lower level mechanical room
  • Summit Marker slab to be placed in the coming weeks
  • Exterior masonry work continues
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CLICK HERE to check out what's going on atop America's Mountain right this minute. V iew a LIVE camera feed from contractor GE Johnson and keep up with the amazing construction progress of the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex!

The building has received 95% of the large equipment for HVAC, plumbing and electrical.  

The final structural steel framing of the lobby roof has been installed, centered on Mt. Rosa and providing a picture of the full extent of the lobby form.

Future elevators taking form.
Summer work:

Sitework begins this summer surrounding  the official marker of the summit. The marker  celebrates the true summit of the mountain as identified by the historic plaque and brass marker.

Installation of the boardwalk system on the north edge of the site continues. As guardrail is installed, sections may be opened to visitors.
Drilling for boardwalk supports begins on the east side of the existing summit house to connect the ADA accessible boardwalk to the new summit visitor center.

Waterproofing of the building walls and roof continues and installation of the stone cladding is getting underway.

As the summer proceeds, the building will become more identifiable as its final form takes shape and the exterior finish materials are installed. There are several sequences of work necessary to get to the final building enclosure, but with good weather the building should begin to be enclosed.

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