Construction of New Dorm at Lake McDonald Begins

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from NPS Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Lodge - Lee Coursey photo

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Construction has begun on a new dormitory near Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park. The dorm will include a new employee dining facility in the basement and dormitory rooms on the top two levels. Construction of this building near the new Lewis Dormitory is anticipated to be completed by May 2011. Construction started Tuesday, September 28 with excavation of the basement. As part of this project two abandoned dormitories (Hydro and Johnson) will be demolished and removed this fall.

This project is funded by Glacier Park, Inc.(GPI) and Swank Enterprises has been selected as the general contractor. The new employee dining facility will allow the transfer of that function away from its current location at the Lake McDonald Lodge making way for improvements to the working conditions in the main lodge kitchen and further separating guest and employee functions. Employees currently housed in Cobb House and Snyder dormitories will be relocated to this new facility allowing those historic buildings to be renovated as additional visitor lodging including some lower cost economy accommodations.

Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright says “Building this new dormitory will further implement the vision conceptualized and approved in the park’s 2004 Commercial Services Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (CSP/FEIS). This vision includes consolidating employee housing and moving employee housing away from the flood plain, upgrading housing conditions and improving separation of employee and guest functions. Visitor and employee parking will be addressed separately.”

The CSP/FEIS also planned for improving the range of visitor accommodations, improving the sense of arrival to the historic lodge and improving the visitor experience by providing a central, consolidated parking area away from the entry boulevard in the Lake McDonald developed area.

The new dorm is part of a larger concessioner-funded project begun in 2009 which relocated three dormitories from their former location near Snyder Creek to a site adjacent to the new Lewis Dormitory near the Lake McDonald Post Office and Going-to-the-Sun Road. The three buildings were improved to include new bathroom facilities and installation of fire suppression and alarm systems. A new water line and improved detention ponds for storm water were built to support the relocated buildings.

The Lake McDonald Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and Lake McDonald Lodge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

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