The Collage Companies
In 2012 The Collage Companies (Collage) celebrated 30 years in business and now, several years later, the design-build construction management firm continues to push forward with the same sense of purpose. “Our mission is to build projects that strengthen the foundation and fabric of our community,” shares Lee Corcoran, director of church development for Collage. “We have completed more than 150 church and ministry-related projects in the Florida market.”
While religious institutions certainly define Collage’s calling, Corcoran says the company isn’t tied to a single market. “We work in other sectors, as well,” he reveals. “We have built Amtrak train stations and the Central Lynx Station in downtown Orlando, as well as schools, universities and parks all over the state. We’re not limited to churches but religious buildings are a main market arena for us.”
Corcoran joined Collage in late 2012 when his company, Corcoran Companies, was absorbed under the Collage umbrella. He transitioned into the major role of heading up Collage’s busy church-services division.
A trinity partnership
Collage understands the church building construction process is more complex than other projects, not only because of the liturgical and spiritual needs, but because of issues regarding fundraising and building within the budget and process of organizational committees. “In no other area of construction does Collage better exhibit its commitment to quality, sensitivity and service to the community than church construction,” shares Corcoran.
After years in the religious sector, Collage believes that real success is only achieved when all of the players on a team work together. This concept defines the company’s trinity partnership, a cooperative, transparent relationship between the owner, the architect and the builder. Collage delivers mutually successful projects by incorporating excellence and stewardship based in three guiding principles; begin together on common ground, work together for common purpose and measure together with common values.
According to Corcoran, it all comes back to the firm’s Christian faith. “We take our faith seriously,” he ensures. “So much so that, while on a project, we write a clause into our contracts that requires the church to assist in ministry with our construction workers. This ministry of construction [MOC] could be as simple as providing a lunch once in a while for the entire workforce or washing the cars of the workers on a Friday, but it helps build relationships and lets the workers know that someone cares about them as people not only for what they do for the project.”
An integrated approach to design and construction
Not only does Collage build partnerships with the organizations it works with, the company also delivers a fully integrated design-build approach. A member of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Collage prefers to package as much into a single project as possible. Furthermore, Brian A. Walsh, president and CEO of Collage, has been a certified design-build professional since 2003 and has served the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) at the state and national level; he also served on the DBIA National Board of Directors in 2011.
“We recently finished a 140,000-square-foot design-build project for the Northland Church, one of the leading religious institutions in the state,” reveals Corcoran. “We also completed a 30,000-square-foot, design-build expansion for the First Baptist Church of Umatilla.”
The state-of-the-art, multi-use facility will serve as a means to grow the organization and its following. The building plan resourcefully utilized the existing sanctuary by expanding the lobby and joining it to the new building. The main feature of the new building is a sizable, two-story events center, which is able to accommodate large community gatherings, ministry fairs and other special functions held by the church.
The new facility also features a bright and inviting education wing, the new home of the Sonshine Pre-School. Collage collaborated with BGW services and the First Baptist Church of Umatilla to implement the full scope of work. From the beginning design crews helped the church grasp the big picture of the product and offered fundraising guidance.
Living the mission
Corcoran says the economic outlook and the company’s backlog have significantly improved over the last couple of years. “We’re gearing up for more projects this year,” Corcoran details. “One is for an international mission organization and we will be designing and building a new office building and conference center. Additionally, we will be doing the design build of a new gymatorium and classroom expansion for an established church congregation in Orlando, as well as a brand new sanctuary and administration building for West Orlando Baptist Church.”
But aside from the projects that cover the bottom line, Collage is also living its mission by delivering aid to the organizations and areas that need it most. “We’re doing an addition and renovation to the Rescue Outreach Center in Sanford, Fla.,” shares Corcoran. “It’s the only homeless shelter in Seminole County.”
Collage’s ministry division called Bring Change, takes an active role in building local food pantries. “Seminole County was hit very hard by the recession,” details Corcoran. “It’s shocking but there are even engineers, architects and attorneys who are homeless and hurting due to the recession. Thankfully, things are starting to recover, but we’re doing what we can to meet the need.”
As the saying goes, practice what you preach. After 32 years, The Collage Companies continues to do so, delivering integrated design-build solutions and ministry that makes complex church construction a collaborative process one of stewardship and service.
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