Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
In 2009, plans began for a renovation to the historic Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to make it more pedestrian-friendly and accessible from downtown St. Louis. McCarthy was selected by the National Park Service in 2014 and again in 2015 to build the expansion and renovation of the St. Louis Gateway Arch Visitor Center and Museum and the renovation of both the North and South grounds of the surrounding memorial park.
The entire site, including the areas directly above the new entrance addition and the existing museum, required re-grading, new landscaping, a new irrigation system, and installation of amended soil and sod. The project has been designed and is constructed to Silver LEED certification. The project site is part of a National Historic Landmark and therefore subject to related requirements including, but not limited to, archaeological monitoring, protection of and documentation of existing historic elements. The existing facilities remained open to the public during construction and critical utility systems could not be interrupted.
The park grounds includes more than five miles of new accessible pedestrian pathways, allowing access to the Arch and riverfront from the north and south and throughout the Arch grounds, including the reflecting ponds. Bioswales collect storm water, allowing the ponds to better reflect the Arch with improved water quality.
Construction features a new accessible west entrance and a 45,183-square-foot, multi-level addition to the existing 103,546-square-foot subterranean Museum of Westward Expansion and Visitor Center. The museum addition is a concrete, glass, and stainless steel structure that serves as the new main entrance and upper-level lobby opening toward downtown St. Louis. The new upper-level lobby includes security screening, information, ticketing, a public gathering area, restrooms and circulation areas. The mezzanine level includes space for educational activities and special events and will introduce visitors to themes presented in the new exhibits. The lower level features an education area with a multi-purpose room, a distance learning facility, resource and administrative staff areas, and a new exhibit gallery to connect to the renovated existing building. New mechanical, electrical, plumbing, IT, security, and communication systems connect to support areas in the existing building. A new waterproofing system was installed over and around the new and existing spaces.
This project is a game-changer for the City of St. Louis. The Arch, with its museum and historical significance, has always been a focal point of the city. By making it more accessible and user-friendly, it allows more people to enjoy the riverfront in the downtown area.