For two weeks beginning Monday, the 10 winners of the 2013 Facilities of Merit awards will be announced on the AB Newswire.

As we did last year, we will announce this year's winners, one each business day, beginning Monday, Sept. 23. The winners will be the subject of a video presentation that will debut prior to the keynote address by Ken Dychtwald at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in San Diego on Nov. 21, as well as the subject of a feature in the November issue of the magazine.

This year is a departure from years past; instead of holing up our panel of judges in a hotel in Chicago, we invited them to our home office in downtown Madison, Wis. After lunch at a local AB favorite, our judges settled down in a sunny conference room just across from the state capitol.

Out of 65 entries, all of which appeared in the June Architectural Showcase issue, 23 survived the first round. But before the day got under way, judges fought to bring back two projects that originally hadn't made the grade — one of which went on to earn a Facilities of Merit distinction. It's all part of the process that makes the Facilities of Merit judging one of our favorite events of the year here at AB (Read more about the judging process here).

The judges took a deeper look into the surviving entries, scrutinizing site plans, budgets function, and so much more. By lunch, the judges had identified some clear favorites. After refueling, it was time to begin the most intense stage of the judging, where our seven architects squared off to defend the projects they thought most worthy and change each other's minds. Hours of debate later, the judges faced a screen with just 10 projects remaining. Those 10 will be unveiled in the coming weeks as our 2013 Facilities of Merit.

A big thank you to our seven judges: David Bock of Populous; Burke Cartwright of EDA Architects; Steve Durham of Kirksey; David Dymecki of Perkins+Will; Greg Garlock of DLR Group; Mark Hentze of CEI Architecture; and Lindsey Peckinpaugh of Sink Combs Dethlefs Architects.