The “heavy commercial” project of San Francisco de Asís Parish earned first runner up in ICF’s annual Builder Awards. (photo from ICF Builders Magazine)

FLAGSTAFF — With its windy, high mountain perch on McMillan Mesa, San Francisco de Asís Church and Education Center’s location and climate made it a good fit for using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) in its construction, according to John Minieri, director of real property and facilities for the Diocese of Phoenix.

Last month, professionals who use ICF in construction confirmed the Catholic building’s success when it won first runner up in the heavy commercial category at the 12th annual ICF Builder Award Ceremony in Las Vegas — honoring the sacred building’s combination of the efficient and the practical, with the majestic.

“This award recognizes the parish’s great stewardship in selecting and building with a high energy efficient building material,” said Minieri. “… Being constructed primarily of concrete, they will stand the test of time.”

The panel of judges evaluated each ICF Builder Award entry for architecture, sustainability, significance, craftsmanship, creativity, site considerations, and percentage of ICF used. ICF is built by taking lightweight foam blocks and stacking them in a specific formation secured with steel reinforcements, then filling them with concrete.

Minieri said there was “significant competition from around the country” among the entrants and that “the use of such energy efficient building material in the cold high country” made San Francisco de Asís Church and School stand out.

The project sets a very high standard,” he said.

A covered walkway connects San Francisco de Asís Parish with its education center. Both projects won an award for its use of insulated concrete form. (photo from ICF Builders Magazine)

The church seats 1,400 and is 22,000 square feet. The school and parish center building, connected by an exterior covered walkway, is 68,000 square feet. The building was completed in December and the school is now fully moved from its downtown location to the new building.

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Minieri said there is also an unusual mix of structures within the school portion that included a pre-engineered metal building structure for the gym and the parish hall. The building also uses a radiant floor heating system.

“It turned out incredible, I believe,” said Fr. Patrick Mowrer, San Francisco de Asís pastor. “It is a building that will last for hundreds of years.”

Fr. Mowrer said that despite snow and other bad weather conditions, they were still able to proceed with pouring the forms because of the foam insulation.

For the project, Brent Maupin Engineering and Design designed the building, BED Southwest was the general contractor, Fox Blocks built the ICF System, and ICF Specialist installed the system. The diocese has used ICF in 16 other buildings.

Graymoor Friary, a 25,000-square-foot facility for Franciscan friars of the Atonement 50 miles north of New York City, earned Best in Class in the multifamily category. The five-story complex was built top-down on a steep jobsite.