The grand opening of the new Emmett and Miriam McCoy Building at the Museum of the Big Bend on Sul Ross State University’s Alpine campus is scheduled June 23-24.
Spartan Construction Project Manager Ashton Allen provided great insight to many notable features of the structure.
Allen is no stranger to West Texas, hailing from El Paso. He is also no stranger to the Texas State University System as he received his bachelor’s degree in Construction Science from Texas State University in 2014, where he was the president of the Construction Student Association in his senior year. Overall, Allen has 14 years of construction experience, from his work in Houston for contractors DPR and Flintco Construction, to his bookend tenure for Spartan Construction, the family business.
“My favorite aspect of the new addition would have to be the outdoor observation deck with the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains,” Allen said. “My favorite details or materials incorporated into the building are the Cor-ten exterior skins as well as the linear wood ceilings used throughout the exhibits, event space and exterior patio.”
Allen said he is particularly fond of the exterior weathering steel and explains its unique, appealing appearance as well as its durability. “Cor-ten resists corrosive effects of the elements by forming a coating over the metal which protects it and prevents the need for painting and maintenance over the years.” He said the process by which the exterior material begins to patina, or evolve, over the coming years will be “neat to watch.”
Allen explained the building’s relevance to campus and the area by citing one of its primary contributors, Larry Speck, the principal architect of the project. “He explained that the building was designed to emulate the surrounding mountains. After he explained this to me, I drove up the hill to the old Mountainside dorm parking lot and looked back at the building. If you look out at the mountains south of the new MoBB Annex, you will see a stretch of mountains that follow the same lines as the new museum.”
He recalled a rewarding experience that gave a glimpse into the importance of erecting the structure. “The beam signing was a great event that the museum, university, and community were involved with. Everyone that attended had the opportunity to sign the beam and write their well wishes for the building,” said Allen.
He thanked the Museum of the Big Bend, the Texas State University System, Sul Ross State University and its facilities team, the design team, and the third-party project management team.
“This project team was great to work with and integral to the project’s completion,” he said. “Specifically Bill Hartshorn and Pedro Hernandez who guided the project to completion. It was a pleasure and honor to have been involved with such an incredible project in Alpine.”
For more information about the grand opening, visit www.museumofthebigbend.com.
Photo: Local dignitaries, the project team, museum supporters and representatives of SRSU signed the new structure’s tallest beam at an event in July 2022.