A few weeks ago we shared with you that Helix was taking part in the Green Commute Challenge; a regional competition hosted by the Mid-Amaerica Regional Council aimed at removing vehicles from the road during peak times – which in turn positively impacts the city on rather unfortunate ozone days.
45 teams, and 1,158 people participated in the challenge, effectively saving:
607,658 miles of driving
562,042 pounds of emissions
$328,743 in driving costs
Helix came out on top of Small Employers, and overall ranked third in participation points when compared to all competitors! Way to go, team Helix (and take that, competition). Well done to all participants for taking part in a two-month event that sought to positively impact not only our environment, but our city. If you’re curious about what your own commute costs you in dollars, and how it effects the environment, take a look at the emissions calculator, provided by KCATA.
The mixed-use Prairiefire at Lionsgate development will be located in Overland Park along 135th Street
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City
Helix has begun schematic design on The Museum at Prairiefire which will serve as a cultural landmark in Southern Johnson County. What is unique about this museum? It will house the first and only remote branch of New York’s famous American Natural History Museum (featured in the film A Night at the Museum). The American Natural History Museum will be displaying 20 popular and highly acclaimed traveling exhibits in our area over a ten year period. Look forward to visiting our city’s newest cultural landmark while visiting the other attractions in development for Prairiefire at Lionsgate on 119th between Nall and Lamar. www.celebrateprairiefire.com
Construction continues on the renovation of the historic O.H. Dean building at 3635 Main Street. The Reeves-Wiedeman Company purchased the building and is making it their new headquarters. It’s a really great thing to see a 125 year old company move its headquarters back into KC’s urban core, where it was started.
These construction progress photos show an element of the building we are very excited about; those black tubes you see sticking out of the ground are actually the water loops that the building will use to heat and cool itself. By taking advantage of the constant ground temperature of 55-57 degrees, the building’s mechanical system will be super energy efficient. In all, 24 wells are spaced along the rear parking lot of the building, and each well is 300 feet deep! Energy savings will offset the added capital costs of this system in 5 years; after which the savings keep accumulating. When your intention is to buy a building and hold it long term, ground source heat pump systems are the way to go. And, the energy tax credits available today can make the payback even shorter.
As Shirley Helzberg’s third big production in 10 years, the historic Vitagraph Film Exchange Building at 17th and Wyandotte proved to be her most challenging. Fighting through city reviews, permits, and TIF financing approval, Shirley persevered to create a true work of art in Crossroads. The call sheet included a utility pole disappearing act, new set lighting, and a long scene where a very cool parking garage just seemed to emerge from nowhere!
This is not the Vitagraph’s debut appearance. It has been associated with the film industry for years as a Warner Bros. warehouse/distribution facility. Today, however, the building’s leading anchor tenant role will be played by the Kansas City Symphony. Helix’s Trudy Faulkner and Jay Tomlinson who have worked with Shirley on prior productions will once again be added to the credits of another successful preservation of Kansas City history.
On March 18-19, Dale Duncan visited the United Nations Headquarters in New York and made a presentation on sustainable development of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) model village centers to world leaders at the Infopoverty World Conference. This conference was organized by The Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication in the Mediterranean and the World (OCCAM). According to Dale, the trip was a huge success and big step toward solving global poverty issues.
Backing up a bit for some history… In the last 10 years, the UN, in their quest to reduce world poverty, has developed ICT model villages for impoverished and disadvantaged communities. The current model stresses the importance of satellite connectivity and e-services among other ideas.
Recognizing that sustainable development in these models is the next obvious step, Helix and ACI (Affecting Change International) developed a model for a village center made of discarded shipping containers. Breaking the concept into three separate functions – medical, educational, and sustainable – Dale presented the efficiencies and economy of housing these functions in self-contained, durable units. Among the initiatives discussed were ways to provide tools for conserving water, managing wastes, and providing distance education to remote communities. His ideas stressed the importance of adapting the contents of each village center to regional needs via partnerships with organizations that have existing relationships with the communities served.
The team members working on this project included David Neeley with ACI and multiple Helix associates: Dale Duncan, Lora Everett, Trudy Faulker, Linda Glazier, Sarah Godfrey, Bryan Gross, Ryan Hunter, Erica Muhlenbruch, Mark Neibling, Jacob Palan, Carly Pumphrey, Andrea Regnier, Shawn Sanem, Dustin Schafer, Curtis Simmons, and Kristine Sutherlin.