Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2013, 10:04 pm

Augie Old Main project honored by NAWIC

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ROCK ISLAND -- The meticulous restoration of Old Main, a historic Quad-Cities landmark, has received an Award of Excellence from the Quad-Cities chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

The workmanship in the top-to-bottom exterior restoration was recognized by a panel of professionals in the construction industry for its complexity, aesthetics, harmony with its surrounding environment and impact on the community.

"When you take an older building that is a community landmark, and restore it into something that shines for miles around – literally with the lighted dome – then you've done something remarkable," said Deb Swift of KJWW Engineering and the local NAWIC chapter's awards chair.

Similar feelings were expressed by Kent Pilcher, president of Estes Construction, which also was honored by the association for managing the restoration project as general contractor. "It is very rewarding to see the end result of the Old Main building restored to its original brilliance," Pilcher said.

Built between 1882 and 1889 on a bluff along Seventh Avenue in Rock Island, Old Main is the symbol of Augustana College, and also a regional landmark.The exterior restoration project involved replacing the roof, scrubbing and tuckpointing the massive stone walls, and adding a copper cladding to the dome that, when illuminated at night, is visible for miles.

After the exterior project was complete, crew moved inside. The interior of Old Main was modernized and its classrooms now feature the latest technology. Classes in the new interior spaces begin on August 26.

The local NAWIC chapter is unique in recognizing excellence in construction in the Quad-Cities. It has issued awards biennially for the past 40 years. The latest included 16 awards of merit and 10 awards of excellence presented at the 20th biennial Lorraine D. Wright Construction Awards banquet at the Radisson Quad City Plaza in Davenport on August 8. It was attended by more than 120 people from the construction industry in the Quad-Cities.