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McGough Construction Completes Work on Vesterheim Commons

McGough Construction is pleased to announce the opening of the Vesterheim Commons building, a new addition to the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa. McGough served as the general contractor on the project, bringing to life the vision of architects BNIM in Des Moines and international firm Snøhetta.

BNIM and Snøhetta collaborated to design and steward this innovative and inviting new addition to the Vesterheim campus. BNIM, with offices in Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; and San Diego, California, served as the local Architect of Record who led the design team, completed the construction documents and oversaw construction. Snøhetta, based in Oslo, Norway, and New York City, helped Vesterheim create an overall master plan and served as the Design Architect for the Commons building and its surrounding landscape.

Vesterheim's completion was eagerly awaited from partners and locals alike in the fall of 2023.

McGough Construction, a cornerstone in the upper Midwest construction industry for over six decades, played a pivotal role in this collaborative venture. Their Iowa-based team brought a wealth of experience to the project, resulting in exceptional outcomes for Vesterheim’s Commons building including an emphasis on utilizing local contractors from the Decorah area to be a part of the project. Local companies completed over 60% of the contract.

“The Vesterheim Commons has been a unique project for our McGough team to be part of, and we are thrilled to see its completion,” said Ryan Drew, senior project manager at McGough in Iowa. “Between our partnership with BNIM and Snøhetta and the opportunity to engage with local subcontractors, this was truly a collaborative, community-driven project.”

With 7,600 square feet spread across three levels and almost an acre of surrounding landscaped patio, the new Vesterheim Commons building physically links the past and the future, connects the museum collection to the Folk Art School, and enriches the Vesterheim visitor experience for those coming to Decorah or participating digitally through a new video and photography production studio.

Find more about the Commons building and the Strong Roots Bold Future, Campaign to Grow Vesterheim at

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