Pritzker Military Archives Center taking shape in Somers

Kenosha News Online 

Construction of the Pritzker Military Archives Center is progressing on Highway E as crews build the foundation of what will become the flagship building at the 288-acre site.

“Since October 2020, our team has been working on the first stages of constructing the Pritzker Military Archives Center, which includes clearing and excavating the land, pouring the foundation, completing the framing, and utility work,” said Claudia Gutierrez, of TAWANI Enterprises, Inc., the Chicago-based development company that focuses on history-based projects.

The progress is visible to all via on-site EarthCam footage posted on the center’s website, pritzkerarchivespark.com. The “Construction Updates” page of the website is updated weekly and a new progress video is shared monthly.

“Our plan is to also create and share videos at important milestones,” Gutierrez said.

Fred Galati Sr., a senior superintendent of Pepper/Riley Construction shares information in the January update video about how they are proceeding in the spirit of the Navy Seabees’ construction battalion motto, “Can do.”

“This building will honor those that fought and died for this country,” Galati said.

Soil erosion silt fencing has been installed and measures are being taken as the foundation is constructed to protect it from frost damage. Frost blankets are being used and rebar will be heated during the process.

“We added an extra foot of concrete below the foundation footings to keep frost from migrating between the ground and the footings, causing frost damage,” Galati said.

As new trades begin work at the site, multiple trucks will be delivering materials each day. Construction traffic will enter and leave using entrances off 12th Street (Highway E). When needed, Galati said members of the crew will use flags to direct traffic.

Site grading and exterior drain tile installation will continue and utility work will be starting onsite as the weather allows.

Scope of the project

The Pritzker Archives and Memorial Park project was created out of a need for additional space to house the archival collections of the museum and library in Chicago. The state-of-the-art, institutional archive will provide space to restore, preserve and store collections that include books, artifacts and other historical materials, PAMPC staff said.

Each project component will serve to extend the mission of the museum and library “by uniting the past with progress by advancing historic preservation, increasing the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by those who served,” project planners said.

The Archives Center will feature a 9,400-square-foot gallery for public viewing of select artifacts and rotating exhibit materials from the Museum & Library in Chicago.

The full PAMPC project is planned to be completed in phases over an estimated 10 years. The first phase of the project is to include the Pritzker Military Archives Center, designed by JAHN, an award-winning, internationally recognized architectural firm, along with the surrounding community green space.

Planned to follow are construction of the Midwest Firearms Education & Training Center and Cold War Veterans Memorial, while the building of commercial archival space will be completed on demand.

Fewer than 7 percent of the total 288 acres will have buildings on them with a focus on preserving green space. Wetlands will remain undisturbed and buildings will be energy efficient and utilize solar panels and rainwater collection for re-use.

Construction updates and more information about the archives park can be found online at pritzkerarchivespark.com.



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