Long-Needed Rehabilitation Work Under Way at Glacier National Park's Many Glacier Hotel

The majestic Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park is receiving some long-needed rehabilitation work. NPT file photo.

One of the most beautiful settings for a national park stay is Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park. Set on the shores of Swift Current Lake with a view of the craggy Rockies in all directions, the lodge is one of the venerable old souls of the National Park System's lodging fraternity.

The 211-room hotel was built in 1914-1915 by the Great Northern Railroad to accommodate guests it brought to the park. Not surprisingly, the years have not been overly kind to the structure. It's well-worn and shabby in places. Weary furniture and furnishings abound, some rooms are small and dingy, utility runs are aged. In 1996, the Many Glacier Hotel was among the more than 300 historic structures at Glacier included on the Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.

Fortunately, the National Park Service has a seven-year plan under way to remedy those woes. Indeed, the work actually started back in 2001, with a massive structural stabilization project that involved hydraulic jacks to push the hotel’s lakeside walls back in place while cables pulled from the other side.

Phases I, II & III of the rehabilitation focused on the hotel's exterior, structural stabilization, and most immediate needs. These three phases were completed in 2005. Work included: foundation stabilization, emergency egress improvements including repair/replacement of fire and safety systems and structures such as stairwells, fire escapes, handrails, flooring reinforcements, exterior sealing including reinstallation of exterior lap siding over a vapor barrier, refurbishment and/or replacement of all exterior doors and windows, balcony stabilization and reconstruction, installation of a wheelchair accessible elevator, and general safety repairs and upgrades, re-grading of the building exterior to direct storm water/snow melt drainage away from foundation

To help further refine the needs and develop the future project phases, an updated condition assessment and construction estimate were completed for the park by DHM and Associates in 2004, and a Geotechnical Investigations Report was completed in 2005. A Value Analysis Study was completed on the North Phase in 2005 to help narrow the project and assist with developing a sequencing plan for the work. Additionally, a Hazardous Materials Investigation Report was completed in 2004 and hazmat removal was completed in 2007 in preparation for the next phases of work.

The concessioner (Glacier Park, Inc.) funded relocation and upgrade of the public restrooms to address capacity, code and accessibility in 2007.

The current project addressing Phases IV and V (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus-funds $15.6M and Line Item Construction $8.5M) is broken into two components (Components A & C). These two components will address all interior rehabilitation work on the northern half of the hotel:

* Component A includes Annex 1 and North Bridge. Annex I houses the public restrooms, administrative offices, and approximately 50 percent of guest rooms.

* Component C includes the Dining Room, Interloken lounge, Kitchen, Employee Dining Room and other employee and maintenance areas

Construction sequencing of Components A and C is being combined to compress the time-line for the work, reduce cost, and minimize impact to the hotel guests and public.

Component A and C Work, which is scheduled to begin next fall with completion in the spring of 2012, focuses on correcting life safety and seismic issues: fire alarm and suppression systems, electrical systems, structural seismic reinforcements, heating, plumbing and other mechanical systems, accessibility improvements, and code issues

While restoration of lost historic elements is not funded as part of the project, where surfaces and fixtures (walls, floors, lighting, etc.) are to be removed for Life/Safety repairs and rehab work, replacement surfaces and fixtures will include historically-compatible surfaces and fixtures. The work may include new carpeting and flooring, replacing lighting and fixtures, and relocating exposed pipes and sprinkler systems.

The dropped ceiling in the Dining Room will be removed, exposing the original ceiling line and original window configuration. A decorative pergola will be reinstalled.

During the summer of 2011, approximately 100 guest rooms will be closed for the renovation. A modified dining room in the space adjacent to the dining room will be available while construction continues on the current dining room space. The offerings at the downstairs convenience market (Heidi’s) will be expanded to provide an alternative fast-dining option.

Funding for the remaining work on the hotel has been requested for 2013 and 2014. This work will constitute Component B & D (or Phases VI and VII). Component B includes work on the hotel's lobby, guest rooms and lower level meeting spaces, while Component D includes work on the south bridge and guest rooms in Annex II or southern half of hotel. Components B and D will also focus on correcting life, health and safety needs. Funding for restoration of lost historic elements (such as the double helix stairway in the lobby) is not part of the anticipated funding.

To-date, $10 million in federal funding have been spent in the last decade rehabilitating the MGH.

Comments

We have stayed here and it's good to see that these repairs are being made. This hotel overlooks some of the best scenery on the planet.

Glacier is by far the most striking National Park I have ever visited. It is unbelievable. Glad to know about the renovations. I am making plans with my family now for a summer trip into the park.

It's good to see this grand lady getting much needed repairs. This is a great way to spend money to stimulate the economy while providing a service that will be appreciated by generations of visitors to come. It will be wonderful to see that ugly false ceiling in the dining room come down. Cheapest, easiest project with the most impact for the dollar spent? Paint the hotel's paneling light brown to hint at the wood color and cover that awful white-wash paint that someone splashed on at some point. They already painted the paneling in one small alcove next to the dining room and it looks a LOT better!

I worked at this hotel the four summers of my college years, 1966-1969 and it is my favorite place on the planet! I am so happy that it is finally being cared for via a huge renovation. Thank you to all who made it happen! I can't wait to visit and see the results!

Cant wait to come back...This is the most magestic scenery,tranquility,Big Sky country....anywhere July 1st 2011..... in the summer of 1985 I came out by amtrak from worcester ma.to shelby mt.I was a bellman/porter Great tips good friends...jeff,sam, ernie.connie,(from georgia)and Darla from mt...still think of those times sunsets stars for miles and sunrises singing to the moutains peak....till we meet again...peace Tim Jordan :)

Are the renovations complete @ Many Glacier ? thank you...1985 former bellman-porter

I am so glad that repairs are being made to the lodges in the Park.

I too worked in the Park for five years and keep coming back. [1966-1970) My

daughter was married at Fish Creek and the whole family went

by train. She remains in Whitefish and has hiked most trails.