On Wednesday, June 30, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain celebrated the grand opening of the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event was emceed by John Register, Paralympic silver medalist and combat veteran, and included remarks by Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
General contractor GE Johnson broke ground on the 38,000-square-foot building in June of 2018. Mayor Suthers congratulated the project team in his remarks stating, “What can you say about the work of GE Johnson Construction Company? This locally based general contractor took on the enormous challenge of building at 14,115 feet with cold temperatures, snow, permafrost, and lightning challenges that don’t exist at lower altitudes. Hats off to Jim Johnson and his project team that did the work to construct an iconic building that is truly worthy of being crowned ‘America’s Mountain’.”
The Pikes Peak Visitor Center is the highest visitor center in the United States and will enhance the visitors’ experience by offering interpretive exhibits, improved kitchen and dining facilities, retail space, and expanded restroom facilities. Interpretive outdoor exhibits were added along an accessible, elevated pathway, which was designed to help protect the summit’s fragile tundra.
The building is constructed to meet The Living Building Challenge – the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings. Considerations in meeting this goal include restoring the building’s interrelationship with nature; creating environments that optimize physical and psychological health and wellbeing; and using materials that are safe for all species through time.
Construction crews placed 50 tons of reinforcing steel, 375 pieces of precast, and 1,161 cubic yards of concrete during the life of the project. The building contains 4,175 square feet of window system and our crews placed the curtain wall system that has been tested to withstand 230 mph winds. GE Johnson Logistics successfully completed 1,060 trips to the summit to deliver materials. This has all been done while achieving zero recordable injuries in some of the harshest construction elements.
Construction on the exterior of the building will continue through the summer, but visitors are welcome inside the new facility as of June 24, 2021.
Photos courtesy of GE Johnson