Story Construction

Story Construction Wins 2015 Masters Award for Willow Residence Hall Project at Iowa State University

February 25, 2015

Ames, IA; Feb. 25, 2015 — Story Construction brought home a win from the Master Builders of Iowa’s Annual Winter Conference when it was announced Tuesday, February 24, their work on ISU Willow Residence Hall won in the $1-$5 million project category. The awards were presented at MBI’s Award Luncheon as part of the conference.

Story served as construction manager on the Willow Residence Hall project on Iowa State University campus. The project consisted of renovation on all eight floors and included 272 dorm rooms and 15 storage rooms. Upgrades were made to flooring, interior finishes and furniture.

What made this project unique was its accelerated timeline which was a mere 57 days. With enrollment at record levels at ISU in the Fall of 2014, the building needed to be up and running for the return of students in August. Therefore, Story had only the summer months, when the building was vacant, to complete the entire project.

In a video presented at the awards luncheon, Dean McCormick, Director of Design & Construction Services in Facilities Planning & Management at ISU recognized Story as a strong partner. Reiterating the brief timelines, he emphasized the project needed to be completed in 57 days, and on the 58th day residents were moving in.

Another unique aspect of the project came in accessing the building interior. During Story’s renovation, the elevator was also undergoing replacement making it unavailable for use. Story provided access to each floor via scaffolding on the East side of Willow and interior platforms on each floor. A hoist transported crews and materials into and out of the building so the goal of completing nine rooms per day could be achieved.

Mike Espeset, president of Story Construction, said “Scott Kutchen as project manager and Garrett Arganbright as project engineer were strong leaders of a very strong team. They orchestrated the movement of crews and materials in and out of the building all day, every day to achieve the goals and tight schedule for this project. The entire team is very deserving of this recognition from their industry peers and we at Story could not be prouder.”

In addition to the Masters Award for Willow, Story also received recognition for their work on Phase II of the Workiva building project, chosen as one of two finalists in the over $10 million category.  Espeset added, “It is an honor to be chosen as a finalist amongst all the nominees in this competitive category.”


MBI's Masters Award recognizes the role of the constructor. Nominated projects should reflect outstanding management skills, imagination and perseverance under unusual and challenging circumstances and/or innovative construction techniques. The judging panel consists of industry professionals who award based on how well projects meet criteria in four categories: 1) Meeting the Challenge of the Project; 2) Innovation in Construction Techniques, Equipment, Materials and State-of-the-Art advancements; 3) Excellence in Project Management/Jobsite Supervision; and 4) Responsiveness to Client’s Need. More information is available at


Story Construction is an employee-owned merit shop providing general contractor, construction management and design-build services to clients in Iowa and surrounding states. Story’s predecessor, James Thompson & Sons, started in the construction business in 1934, followed by the establishment of Story Construction in 1972. Today the company employs more than 130 people. More information is available at

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