Press Release

Orchard Beach Shelter Building Relocation Project Earns Governor’s Award

June 2, 2022

Michigan Governor recognizes innovative historic preservation project

LANSING, MI (June 2, 2022) – GEI Consultants was honored as part of a team for its support of the Orchard Beach relocation project, one of seven historic preservation projects recognized by the State of Michigan. The project involved extensive options analyses related to high-water erosion impacts, long-term planning and risk assessments, and ultimately the design and move of the historic Orchard Beach State Park shelter building.

“Our team was truly honored to be a part of this innovative project to both advocate for our environment and preserve a historic building,” says GEI Senior Geotechnical Engineer Carlin Grundemann, P.E. “Our amazing team and partners at DTMB, DNR, and Hallack Contracting put in many hours to get this right and to see it come together and recognized as significant has been incredibly fulfilling.”

As the natural bluff at Lake Michigan continued to erode due to high water levels and groundwater seepage, the State of Michigan made the decision to relocate the Orchard Beach State Park shelter to a more protected location. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the shelter building is part of a larger state park listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

GEI analyzed the bluff regression rate by conducting a full topographic and bathymetric survey of the park and its coastline using state-of-the-art drone technology and analysis of wave runup and sediment transport. In addition, the GEI team performed geotechnical slope stability analyses and slope stabilization designs for several alternatives that would have allowed the building to remain in place.

These efforts along with construction cost analyses formed a vulnerability assessment that helped the state make the decision to relocate the shelter building and allow the shoreline to remain in its natural state while providing bluff stabilization for other portions of the bluff near critical park infrastructure.

“This is one of those instances where the volatility of water on our Great Lakes made a radical action necessary,” says Carlin. “It also shows that we can work together to be innovative and make a difference by limiting human impact to the environment while preserving history. Get out there and enjoy our beautiful state parks, advocate for our environment, and remember to leave things a little better than you found them for the next generation.”

As part of this effort, GEI completed a full survey of endangered and threatened species in the park and along the shoreline. In addition, staff completed a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) archaeological survey across more than 15 acres to be disturbed during construction within the state park.

The awardees were named by Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II and the Michigan Economic Development Council (MEDC) at an awards ceremony hosted by the [Michigan] SHPO.

The Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation celebrate outstanding historic preservation achievements that reflect a commitment to the preservation of Michigan’s unique character and the many archaeological sites and historic structures that represent the state’s rich past.

Learn more about the project and why it was recognized by watching this brief awards video recapping the project and this more detailed look at the relocation in this video from Hallack Contracting.


About GEI: GEI Consultants, Inc. is a consulting engineering firm that delivers professional services that improve our world’s built environment. With more than 1,000 staff and 44 offices in North America, GEI is a leader in providing multi-disciplined engineering and environmental services to a range of private and public sector clients, both domestically and abroad.

As an employee-owned firm, we foster personal relationships with our clients and support our staff in a partnership model, which is underpinned by continuous learning and sharing of knowledge. We retain proven, recognized experts and attract the best minds to deliver to our clients a refreshing blend of technical expertise, collaborative spirit, and innovation that is rare in our profession. We engineer solutions in five primary end markets: Water Resources, Energy, Buildings, Infrastructure, and Industrial. For more information on GEI, please visit

Media Contact:

Rachel Sa
Director of Communications
GEI Consultants, Inc.
(647) 988-9300