75 Stories: Jacki Hilgendorf
2021 marks the 75th Anniversary for Clark Construction Company. To celebrate, we’re using our employee’s voices to explain the impact Clark has made to our fellow teammates, communities, and clients. This is Jacki’s story.
I have worked for Clark for over 20 years on a variety of projects: a new steel plant, a county jail, county facilities, several school buildings, upper education buildings and casino expansions. I have met and worked with a lot of great people, have explored the communities that I’ve worked in and have seen the construction industry transform from a paper-generating beast into practically paperless streamlined machine. We no longer need to package heavy, full-size sets of drawings and handwrite UPS tracking receipts to mail to each contractor. And we no longer need to pack up all the project documents in large banker boxes and lug them to the main office to be placed in a long-term storage unit for seven years. I am so thankful the paper laden days are over! We now have more time to focus on all the other opportunities that we experience on each project – the good, the bad and the indifferent. My experiences have been fulfilling, but there is one project that stands out to me – the Clinton County Courthouse project.
The original courthouse was completed in 1872 and served its community for well over 100 years. In October 1998, the building was demolished to make way for a larger facility. After demolition, the entire block was surrounded by construction fencing. The only building remaining within that block was an old administration building where we held our construction meetings. That building was later demolished, and the space became a parking lot.
The friendliness and community-pride are what stick out in my mind when I remember this project. The community displayed fall decorations (scarecrows and decorated pumpkins) in front of local businesses downtown, and they set up decorations in front of the construction fence too. The children at St. Joseph’s Catholic School across the street from the construction site were so excited to host a luncheon for the construction workers. The table decorations included toy construction vehicles. I don’t know who had more fun – the kids or the workers! There was also a local boy who watched the big excavators on site almost daily. Bo Fowler, our Superintendent, talked to him often about what was going on. And finally, the day that the cupola was lifted to its final resting place on top of the building. I was standing on top of the Old Administration building that day, with the rest of our team, and hundreds of people from the community surrounded the entire construction fence. It was quite a sight!
I am glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the Clinton County Courthouse project. It was a special one!