OGDEN — A North Salt Lake company recently was honored with the Build America Award for its restoration of the Ogden High School auditorium.

The team from Hughes General Contractors traveled to Palm Springs, Calif., March 7 to attend the 94th annual Associated General Contractors Build America Awards. The company came out on top in the building renovation category for projects under $10 million.

"It felt very good," said Dan Pratt, Hughes General Contractors vice president. "I just wish everyone could have been there, all the hundreds of people who worked on the project."

The Ogden High auditorium, built as part of the school in 1936, was in dire need of seismic and environmental repair.

When the project began in 2009, the thought was the auditorium was too far gone to save. But a fund drive organized by Ogden High alumni and others raised $9 million to restore the auditorium back to its original state.

Pratt said the challenge was a tough one to tackle.

To preserve and restore the art-deco look on the walls and ceiling of the auditorium, crews had to use unconventional methods to carefully reinforce and rehabilitate the plaster, bricks, steel and woodwork.

Hundreds of people worked on the project, which was completed in December. The work completely restored the room and brought it up to current code.

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"The goal was literally for the alumni to walk in and say, ‘This looks like it was originally built. I didn't notice any difference,'" Pratt said.

The winners of the Build America Awards are judged on a variety of criteria, including difficulties of the job; innovation in construction techniques and state-of-the-art advancement; and contribution to the community.

The judges agreed the Ogden High auditorium renovation certainly met all of those.

"It's certainly a privilege and an honor to be involved with a project like this," Pratt said. "There are so many people who worked so hard behind the scenes."

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com