Itís starting to look like its old self again.
Crews from Dick Anderson Construction are wrapping up the first phase of reconstruction of the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park. On Monday, they finished the roof as a fall snowstorm was getting ready to bear down on the chalet, said project manager Travis Neil.
The $4 million project started in July. Since then crews have poured a foundation and put in the first and second floors of the building. In addition, timber beam rafters and wood sheer stud walls, designed to better protect the structure from an avalanche or earthquake have also gone up.
The chalet was gutted by the Sprague Fire last summer. All that remained standing was the stone masonry walls.
Since then, there has been strong public support to rebuild the iconic 104-year-old building at the base of Gunsight Peak, 6.5 miles uphill from the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Last spring, the Park Service with the support of Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Montanaís congressional delegation, fast-tracked the design and bid process so that work could start by this summer.
Last week, when the Hungry Horse News hiked to the site, crews from Anderson had the new roof rafters up and a helicopter from Minuteman Aviation was hauling in plywood and other supplies to do the roofing.
The roof will have a permanent inner roof and then a temporary outer roof layer with a snow and ice shield to get the structure through another winter.
The windows have already been boarded up and one of the last aspects of the project was to seal them up to keep the snow out, Neil said Monday.
Next summer, Phase II work will start, which will include all the interior finish work, flooring, masonry repairs, the rooms and the finished roof. A final floor plan and layout for the new chalet hasnít been completed. The hope is to have the project complete by next fall.
Unlike Phase I, which solicited bids from a handful of Montana-only firms, the second phase will undergo the standard contracting process. Neil said Anderson plans on bidding on Phase II as well.
Itís expected the project will cost about $12 million total. Architects Anderson Hallas of Colorado are doing the design work for the chalet.
On average, about 16 to 20 crewman spent alternating shifts at the chalet this summer, living in wall tents. The tents will be taken down and stored for use next summer.
Neil said there were plenty of challenges with the project, including last-minute design changes, delays with helicopter flights due to wildfires burning in the park and some changes in materials, including the addition of more steel to the superstructure of the building.
But even so, it was one of the best project heís ever worked on, he said. He said it was a true team effort with designers, workers, and Park Service all coming together.
ďIt was a very successful project on all aspects,Ē he said. ďIt was a true group effort.Ē
The Glacier National Park Conservancy, the non-profit fundraising arm of the park has also been supporting the rebuild. To date, the non-profit fundraising arm of the park raised funds for the initial stabilization of the stone walls, so the structure would survive last winter.
This summer, itís raised funds to keep the dining hall open to feed the crew. To date itís raised more than $351,000 for the chalet effort with a goal of more than $2 million as it looks to give greater support for the second phase.
Learn more at https://glacier.org/sperry-chalet/action-fund/