Architecture firm moving forward by design

Phil Castle, The Business Times

There are few places Peter Icenogle can travel in Grand Junction without seeing the buildings his architectural firm designed.

There’s the Primary Care Partners building on 12th Street and Bookcliff Country Club. Closer to Icenogle’s downtown office, there’s the public safety complex and closer still Grand Junction City Hall.

Those buildings are part of a legacy for the Blythe Group, but also a part of what Icenogle expects will be the continued contributions of the firm under new ownership and with a new name.

Icenogle, John Potter and Burke Martin completed a buyout of what’s now BG + co. under a succession plan implemented by Roy and Pamela Blythe, who retired last year. The couple founded the firm in 1996 after they relocated to the Grand Valley to work on the design and construction of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and detention center.

Icenogle serves as director of architecture and has worked for the firm since 2003. Potter serves as director of project management and has worked at the firm since 1997. Martin serves as building information modeling manager and has worked for the firm since 2006.

As a full-service firm, BG + co. continues to offer a range of architectural, interior design and project management services, Icenogle said. Those services can take projects from site selection and initial design through construction administration and then occupancy. The firm offers additional review services to ensure projects comply with local, state and national codes.

BG + co. focuses on commercial and institutional projects in Western Colorado, Icenogle said. About 80 percent of that work involves public projects and the bulk of that for repeat clients, he said.

The firm employs 10 people, although Icenogle said there additional positions he’d like to fill.

While every project is unique, Icenogle said the process remains the same in going through various stages, usually from general concepts to specific features.

The process usually starts with conceptual designs and site selection. Designs are then refined to reflect space and functions. Elevations and floor plans are developed, followed by mechanical and electrical drawings.

Completed documents constitute detailed instructions for construction, he said. “The pictures we draw are worth millions of words.”

Depending on what’s requested, BG + co. can work with owners and contractors to manage construction, he said. The firm also can serve as a representative for owners in dealing with budgets and contracts.

Nearly every project involves three factors, Icenogle said: size, cost and schedule. Changing one factor affects the other two.

Ultimately, BG + co. is responsible for designing for clients the best building for their budgets, but also facilities that are safe, he said. “It’s not something we take lightly. It’s a pretty big responsibility.”

Icenogle said he still savors the moment when he can walk into a completed building and conclude a process that started as a sketch on a sheet of tracing paper.

In a broader sense, architecture enhances the look and feel of a city as well as the lives of the people who live there. BG + co. has developed a reputation for its role in that effort, he said. “We’re seen as community partners that can enhance the fabric of the community.”

Business remains brisk for BG + co. even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Icenogle said. So far, only one project has been delayed as a result of the pandemic. Busy architects constitute a leading indicator for the construction that follows, he said.

Given projections for growth for Grand Junction and Western Colorado and what could be an exodus of people leaving large cities to move to more rural areas, he said he’s optimistic about the future. “It’s a good place to be an architect.”

He expects to see in Grand Junction more buildings his firm designed.

BG + co. operates offices at 622 Rood Ave. in Grand Junction. For more information, call 242-1058 or visit the website located at www.bgco.com.