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DURRANT GROUP (THE)

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Durrant offices at the Ice Harbor
DURRANT GROUP. One of the 500 largest engineering and architectural firms in the nation in 1993, the company was started in 1933 by Joseph Durrant. Beginning in Boscobel, Wisconsin, the firm moved to Dubuque in 1948. (1) By 1950 it had become Durrant and Bergquist Architects when it hired George DEININGER as a draftsman. The office was located on the top floor of the Mulgrew Coal Company building on Jones and Main near the railroad tracks. (2)

The 1977 through 1983 Dubuque City Directory listed 942 DUBUQUE BUILDING for Durrant Engineers Inc.

The 1985 through 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed 942 Dubuque Building for The Durrant Group Inc.

The 1989 Dubuque City Directory listed 1 CYCARE PLAZA.

The 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 942 Cycare Plaza.

Starting only with architecture, the company grew to include engineering, construction management and interior design. Moving with a variety of trends, Durrant was involved in the construction of federal hospitals in the 1940s and schools and county jail facilities in the 1960s. (3)

Locally it was in charge of many projects including DUBUQUE GREYHOUND PARK AND CASINO, remodeling AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK, WAHLERT CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL, JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL, WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL, ECUMENICAL TOWER, and the construction of the Nordstrom Inc. distribution center. (4) In 1985 employment in the company totaled an estimated eighty people. In 1993 that figure had reached 170 including thirty-seven in the Dubuque office.

By 1993 branches were established in Madison and Waukesha, Wisconsin; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado; and Houston, Texas. The Durrant Group also included the wholly-owned companies of Durrant Construction Management Inc., Durrant Architects, Inc., Durrant Engineers, Inc., Durrant Heike in Waukesha, Roberts/Dinsmore Associates in Arizona, and Durrant Flickinger in Colorado. (5)

Durrant leased the former ADAMS COMPANY (Encyclopedia Dubuque) manufacturing building, which it renovated in 2008 as a cost of $3 million.

In 2011 Durrant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2012 after nearly 80 years of designing schools, jails, museums, hospitals, libraries and apartment buildings, the Durrant Group Inc. closed its doors. Last-minute negotiations with potential buyers fell through and Durrant ceased operations as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, April 19, 2012. Durrant had about 60 employees when it closed (about 15 in Dubuque), down from a high of 350 in nine offices in the early 2000s. (6)

Durrant Group Inc. history highlights (7)

  • 2006 -- Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino: Gaming Vision Award for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Design, presented by The American Gaming Association
  • 2006 -- Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School: Project of Distinction for Outstanding Architecture and Design from Education, School Planning & Management Magazine
  • 2008 -- Completion of a $3 million conversion of a vacant foundry in the Port of Dubuque (former Adams Co. building) into a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable corporate headquarters
  • 2009 -- Won Ken Kringle Historic Preservation Award for renovation of the former Adams Co. factory.

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Source:

1. Nevans-Pederson, Mary. "Durrant Closes Its Doors," Telegraph Herald, April 21, 2012

2. Blocker, Sue, "George Deininger," Telegraph Herald, April 27, 1987, p. 7

3. Nevans-Pederson

4. Blocker

5. Nevans

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.