COSCO & Associates Inc.
If there’s a company designing and building with a purpose, it’s COSCO & Associates Inc. (COSCO). The Florida-based complete design-build firm is solely dedicated to getting religious facilities off the ground. From feasibility studies and planning to fundraising and financing, architecture, engineering and construction, COSCO is there every step of the journey.
One Common Goal
“100 percent of our effort is dedicated to helping churches and religious facilities grow,” explains Kyle Coon, vice president of operations for COSCO. “We’re not just an architectural firm that designs churches or a general contractor who just happens to be proficient at building churches; this is all we do and we do it well. We offer real benefits to pastors and church communities, helping them turn their vision into a tangible tool for them to grow.”
Since its inception in 1969 by Dewey Cosgrove, COSCO’s professional team has completed more than 1,000 projects. “We have a complete support team that allows us to do nearly anything,” shares Coon. “Our staff is professionally trained and highly experienced with one common objective: to protect the ministry and give the church a great building experience.”
COSCO employs in-house architects, draftsmen, interior designers and graphic designers to deliver what is promised. “We have our architecture department and also a construction division with on-site project managers at every project,” notes Coon. “Right now our projects range from Pittsburg, Pa., to Longview, Texas, and throughout the eastern and southeastern U.S.”
The company covers national ground from three main offices and several satellite locations. “We have about 25 full-time employees and our largest office is in Crestview, Fla.,” shares Coon. “We perform construction management, architectural service and accounting at the home office and we have a sales office in Tyler, Texas, as well as a smaller satellite office in Birmingham, Ala.”
Complete Support and Communication
COSCO prides itself in providing church communities with the right tools necessary to enhance and grow each individual ministry, while delivering the best value for their dollar and doing it all with a personal touch. “We hold our clients hands through the entire process,” explains Coon. “Our architectural, interior design, construction and financing teams work side-by-side on a daily basis to assure your church of a cost-conscious design that avoids costly change orders.”
The first step is expert planning. COSCO helps cast a vision by passionately working to grasp the unique DNA of a client’s church through extensive ministry, building, demographic and financial analysis. The company assists clients in determining an appropriate project scope and budget to set the institution on the right path to success. Ultimately, COSCO creates accurate site plans, floor plans and photorealistic 3-D renderings with associated cost estimates.
“We do our best to keep up with industry trends and the latest technology advances,” adds Coon. “It’s not cheap. In fact, keeping up with technology has been one of our biggest challenges, but we have progressive architects that are willing to do the extra work. From the first meetings we’re utilizing 3-D CAD modeling, so the client fully understands what they’re getting, right down to the color of the carpet and the shape of the chairs.”
Coon explains that utilizing technology to the fullest extent improves communication and helps clients make informed decisions about each facility and its direction. “The more we can educate our clients and interact with them, the more successful the project will be,” he ensures.
Building a Worship Experience
No matter the location or church sector, COSCO strives to build more than a facility, but a complete worship experience. “Our projects range from $3 million to about $16 million, but our focus is on the $5 million to $10 million range,” details Coon. “At any given time, we have about six to seven projects in construction and eight or 10 in the design phase; we’re always busy.”
As a construction manager, COSCO subcontracts approximately 95 percent of its work. “We’re a licensed general contractor and we’re completely responsible for the project, but our process is to manage subcontractor trades,” notes Coon. “We have a number of subcontractors who follow us around the country, because we’ve worked with them for many years, some over 30. We value these long standing relationships because when you work in such a niche industry, reputation is everything.”
Relationships have taken COSCO a long way over the years, and not only with subcontracting partners. “Our business mainly comes from word-of-mouth referrals,” continues Coon. “This is a fairly small market, so one bad project can sink you. That’s why we only utilize guys we can trust and can stand behind their work.”
And the company’s esteemed reputation has ensured its success. COSCO recently completed a $14 million facility for the Victory Family Church in Cranberry Township, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. “This was an incredible project,” reveals Coon. “It’s a really progressive-style church with 25-footwide LED televisions, 2,500 stadium seats, effect lighting and even haze machines. It offers a complete worship experience and I’d say it’s one of the most interesting projects we’ve completed.”
COSCO also recently broke ground on a new $9.5 million project in Mussel Shoals, Ala. “This is a 1,100-seat worship facility that’s contemporary in nature,” details Coon. “This church is really breaking away from its red brick, white column roots and swinging the pendulum as far away from the traditional model as it can. It’s going to be an interesting transition for them.”
With a few new projects on the horizon, Coon says new construction is finally picking back up. However, for a while during the downturn, COSCO was forced to get creative. “We’ve been doing a lot of adaptive reuse facilities with the way the economy has been,” Coon explains. “It’s been difficult for churches, just as other businesses, to borrow enough money for a ground-up project. We had to get creative in taking old facilities and completely revamping them to offer the most bang-for-a-buck and more cost-effective solutions.”
From financing to planning and comprehensive design, COSCO will bend over backward to support its clients and facilities; not because it’s the company’s job, but because it’s a passion. “We’re not just building, we’re building the Kingdom of God,” emphasizes Coon. “Unlike other commercial construction, we get more gratification than a paycheck. We all feel as though we’re part of a bigger picture and the people we affect and touch are amazing.”
Coon, who’s been with COSCO for eight years and commercial construction for a solid 16 years, says COSCO was the perfect fit for him. “I have an undergrad degree in construction and my masters in design,” he shares. “I straddle that fence with one foot on the architectural side and one on construction, but what attracted me to COSCO the most is everyone’s passion.”
Coon is most proud to note that he is not the only one who feels this way. “Everyone in this company – from the person drafting to the accountant writing the checks to the superintendent in the field – shares our passion,” he adds. “We’re very Christian-oriented. There’s an accountant who plays the piano and an architect who teaches Sunday school. We have all kinds of different gifts and we come together as one to fulfill this purpose and we are extremely proud of the good work we do.”
COSCO has been building, designing and completely supporting churches with a higher calling and purpose to do and spread the good word of the Lord for 44 years. With an outstanding team, COSCO & Associates Inc. continues to deliver above-average religious facilities with the support and dedication of a partner and friend in Christ.
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