Friede News & Updates

Chula Vista Fire Restoration: A Design and Reconstruction Challenge

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 18, 2016 1:53:00 PM / by Scott G. Truehl

Scott G. Truehl


The new Cold Water Canyon Clubhouse was built to replace the existing structure that was destroyed by fire in March of 2014.

Just after dawn on a Saturday in early March of 2014, Mike Kaminski received a call from the head of security at Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells informing him that smoke had been seen coming out of the roof at the Cold Water Canyon Clubhouse. The Clubhouse contained Big Moe's restaurant and the resort's golf course pro shop.

Within a few minutes the Killbourn Fire Department arrived and immediately began fighting the fire, which was now raging in the wood framed building and had spread through the roof. The fire had apparently began in the dining room of Big Moe’s restaurant near a wood burning fireplace.

The morning of the fire, Friede & Associates called Kaminski offering assistance.  It was agreed that they would meet the following morning to begin the process of clean-up and charting a course for the reconstruction, especially since the start of golf season was just a month away. 

“Friede had previously performed numerous fire restoration jobs. We knew that our familiarity with what Chula's insurer would be looking for could prove invaluable," said Roger Friede, President of Friede & Associates.

The first thing Kaminski and Friede did on Sunday morning was to purchase a portable video camera for use in documenting every inch of the damaged building and all of its contents. Within a day, Friede crews were installing fencing to secure the site, and within a few days Friede staff had participated in meetings with Chula's insurer and claims specialists. The building was determined to be a total loss.

Chula Vista Resort Pro Shop in the Wisconsin DellsWhile arrangements were made for a portable trailer to be installed for use as the temporary pro shop for the upcoming golf season, meetings and discussions began in earnest to determine—for insurance purposes—the present value of the building that had been destroyed, as well as initial design development and planning for what Chula Vista would ultimately like to construct in its place. 

In a situation like this, there is no time to waste. By mid-May, ADCI—the project architect—had completed drawings for the new building and a project team had been brought on board for the design-build process that would begin in late fall, after the golf season. 

The much larger, new facility offered some unique challenges, as it was designed to utilize exposed wood trusses and a high degree of wood finishes throughout the pro shop, bar and dining area. Extensive windows were also designed into the project to allow for natural lighting and to offer great views of the golf course as well as the Chula Vista Resort. As a result, special attention was needed with the building's structural elements to allow for windows to take up a large percentage of the exterior walls. 

Chula Vista Resort Tavern Restaurant built by Friede & AssociatesDuring the design stage, Chula looked to build some flexibility into the plan to allow for future expansion of three large meeting rooms and for the kitchen to be able to, not only support the needs of the clubhouse, but also to handle future convention business. In addition, the kitchen would also need to be able to support the large on-site tent that was usually used for events eight months out of the year. Since Chula Vista hadn't been planning for this expansion project prior to the fire, budgets were incredibly tight, and value engineering was used at virtually every design and progress meeting (Click here to see video of the design walk-thru).

Construction continued into early spring with the clubhouse opening for golf business in April and the new Tavern Restaurant opening about a month later.  In March and April, an extra Friede job trailer was used for both golf operations and for the new “Heightened Adventures” ropes course that opened at the resort in the spring.Chula Vista Resort Tavern Restaurant Patio

Friede and resort staff then met with the building insurer and claims adjuster in May to confirm that all the new code items had been installed and to close the insurance claim. Friede had also assisted Chula Vista with its separate personal contents inventory—equipment and furniture claims that were also settled at that time.

With the completion of the patio and the installation of landscaping, the project was completed in time for the late summer rush.

And now, Chula Vista closes out its first full year of operating with its beautiful new restaurant and pro shop. It was in large measure financed by the insurance proceeds Friede & Associates helped Chula Vista obtain through careful documentation, as well as expert design-build services that put the facility back in business in record time.

“Fire can be devastating and you can never plan the timing," added Friede. “But taking the right actions early on can make all the difference in the world.”

This project was awarded the 2015 Projects of Distinction Gold Award by the Wisconsin Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

About Friede:

When you select Friede & Associates, you are buying more than our quality-assured construction services. You also get the performance and reliability of some of the top suppliers and subcontractors in the area. While other contractors may be cutting quality to remain competitive on price, Friede is forging relationships with members of the project team to bring you the best value and highest quality for your investment.

Considering a new construction project? Do you know the 10 essential questions to ask before choosing a contractor? Click below to download this helpful eBook:

10 Essential Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Contractor

Topics: Design/Build, Chula Vista Resort, fire restoration

Scott G. Truehl

Written by Scott G. Truehl

Executive Vice President & Partner—With more than 30 years of experience in site selection and commercial development, Scott is responsible for assisting clients with not only their project development, but also their site analysis/acquisition, municipal approval and development needs. Scott is an active member and presenter at the international Construction Leadership Network and is a speaker at both national and state contracting conferences on topics including: creating a positive corporate culture; marketing construction services; design-build construction; and working with Realtors and developers. He also routinely participates in “Meet the Generals” programs around the state of Wisconsin and speaks to hundreds of trade contractors each year on how to effectively work with general contractors. For more than three decades, Scott has served the Wisconsin community in various roles: as a city councilman in Madison and Stoughton, as well as on numerous municipal boards, committees and economic development commissions.

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