Gateman-Milloy celebrates GVCA Building Excellence awards Community Builder recognition for Innisfree palliative care building in Kitchener


    STAFF WRITER – The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature

    Gateman-Milloy took home three awards at this year’s Grand Valley Construction Association’s (GVCA) Building Excellence celebration. The awards, granted at a spring event, recognized two specific projects and also included the first ever presentation of a Community Builder award for the company’s efforts on one of these projects. The award recognizes excellence and corporate social responsibility.

    In the category of building excellence, the company earned recognition for two truly distinct projects: Innisfree House in the category Institutional $2 to $5 million, and the BMX Supercross Legacy Project for the 2015 PanAm Games in the category of Commercial $2 to $5 million.

    Innisfree House is a 16,200 sq. ft. palliative care facility constructed in Kitchener on a three-acre site across from Conestoga College’s Doon campus. The facility, which provides comfort and care for up to 10 patients during their last days of life, includes halls and doorways designed to provide easy movement throughout and to the outdoors, and light filled spaces for living, meeting and dining.

    Gateman-Milloy president Mike Milloy said while the project was small compared with some of the company’s other efforts, it is important for the community. “There is a shortage of palliative care beds in the region, as in many places, so to be involved in a project like this and to be able to ensure its success was important.”

    Gateman-Milloy received the Community Builder recognition for this project. The company invited industry partners, subcontractors and suppliers to participate, suggesting donations or product cost reductions to help the project stay within budget.

    Gateman-Milloy also trimmed its own billings for construction management services.

    “This project required a great collaboration between the client, stakeholders, all of the trades involved, and Conestoga College which donated the land.”

    Located directly across from the college, the facility includes a lower level to train nursing students and to provide them with experience in end of life care. While the location is ideal for this purpose, it also created challenges.

    “The college and Innisfree sit along a major four-lane road into the city so the noise from traffic is substantial. The site is also sloped so we used this to introduce creative grading and landscaping in order to block out some of that traffic and also to create some walking trails along the back of the property.”

    Milloy says the building is both state of the art and homey, balancing the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families with their required medical services.

    The other Excellence in Building Award was for the BMX Supercross Legacy Project on 2.55 hectares of land in Centennial Park in Etobicoke.

    The track includes a 517 m. closed loop track, which a media release on the awards says “is reputed to be the premier professional BMX course in the world.” The track was designed and constructed to Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – the governing body for world cycling sport – standards.

    Senior project manager Mike Dawson says the complex project required value engineering to remain within budget and some creative time management to meet the very specific games deadlines. “The RFP (request for proposal) closed May 1 but then the project was not formally awarded until July.”

    Fortunately, the company opted to be proactive during this wait time, identifying that a pipeline which ran adjacent to the site required additional approvals before work could begin. “We then set up an overtime regime in the fall with the forming contractor to ensure the concrete was poured before winter set in.”

    Part of the course includes a ramp structure that is considered “architecturally significant” and which has been recognized by ArchDaily in an international competition for sports architecture. “There is also a slab on grade lower ramp and a suspended slab ramp. Walls within the ramp structure are almost 30 ft. high and feature board form finishes that require precision to install.”

    The course includes roughly 40 jumps, zig zags and several 180 degree turns, which all had to be constructed to exacting specifications. “Land forming was a large component of this project. There was also a requirement for the course to be dry and rideable within 30 minutes of a rainfall. With the site located on a floodplain, this presented a huge challenge.”

    To meet the demand, Dawson says the site required a large storm drainage system. This also helped deal with rainfall during construction.

    Gateman-Milloy had prequalified for the project, based in part on its previous experience with BMX courses, skateboard parks and golf courses. The company was also involved in constructing several other sites for these PanAm Games.

    Dawson says the team experienced a unique job well done moment when, six weeks after handing over the project, Canadian cyclist Tory Nyhaug won PanAm gold on the course.

    The GVCA awards are presented every two years. Milloy says the two-year period encompassing these awards had been a very busy period for the region. “We were up against some outstanding projects and to have been recognized with three of the 22 awards, and to be receiving this recognition from our peers, was incredible.”

    He says the company’s strength comes from the team and from strong leaders who keep raising the bar, cutting new tracks, and succeeding every step of the way.

    Beyond the Innisfree project, Gateman-Milloy employees share a strong corporate citizenship culture. The company has been involved in efforts supporting St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener, Camp Quality (for children with cancer), and is currently involved with a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes) initiative nationwide. The company also has provided bursaries in perpetuity to Conestoga College, Wilfred Laurier University and Niagara Park School of Horticulture to support students who may one day be engaged in the field.

    For more information about Gateman-Milloy, visit


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