Key Builders transformed our original office space into a modern, updated work environment. I can’t say enough about our project manage, Jack, who went above and beyond every step of the way and paid attention to the smallest of details.
Festival 56 had the chance to renovate an old newspaper building and turn it into a theater space for their summer theater festival. The group looked to Key Builders to help them turn their dream into a reality, on a budget that a nonprofit could afford. Terri Zearing is a former president and member of the board of Festival 56 and was the volunteer in charge of design and construction coordination for their new home, the Grace Performing Arts Center.
A: Our theater group has been in existence since 2003 as a small performing arts nonprofit. We had been presenting multiweek summer theater festivals for the community, and we were using three different venues for the performances, such as the high school auditorium and a community park. The organization reached a point where we wanted to consolidate performances and find a single venue we could call our own.
We acquired an empty building in downtown Princeton, and we did a capital campaign in 2008 to renovate it. It was an old newspaper facility and basically needed a gut renovation to turn it into a proper theater space. Beyond the theater space, we needed a box office, concession area, a lobby, and more.
A: Being a representative for the organization that owns the building can be very stressful. It would have been great if I had built a house in the past, because it would have helped the process. I knew nothing about building, but we had a couple of people step forward who knew more than I did about these things. The executive director knew what he wanted but didn’t have detailed knowledge about lighting, electrical, or things like that.
A: When I think of construction, I think of a guy leaning on his pick up truck with a clip board in his hand. But when it comes to Key Builders, they are proactive in communicating. We had weekly meetings at the construction site with mock-ups and updates on schedules and cost. It was all very calming. They seemed to have it all under control. They just asked us to make choices by certain dates, and assured us that everything would be good.
It’s a nerve-wracking thing to be spending all of this money. But every time I dialed the phone, a real person answered. And not only would a real person answer the phone, but they would patch me into the project manager’s cell phone. They’re very, very responsive and easy to work with.
A: Key builders does a broad scope of projects. And they did such a fantastic job with the renovation of the Princeton Public Library. The library is such a large building, and it’s fascinating how they worked with the original structure. When you see the kind of work that they do, you’re drawn to them.
A: Our theater project was unique for Key Builders, so Key suggested we go to Chicago with people from our board to tour theaters there. Key got inspired by the trip and designed a really great ceiling for the lobby, which was then painted by a local artist. I was so impressed that they offered to do this trip to see other theaters, and the artist was thrilled with the ceiling’s gorgeous lines and angles. I definitely felt that they had an above-and-beyond attitude that I wouldn’t expect other companies to have at the drop of a hat. We have a really beautiful renovation because Key Builders does quality work.
A: Responsiveness is a great quality that they have. They are always there and they will always get you an answer. They are also extremely professional.
I don’t know about other companies, but when you walk into Key Builders, everybody seems to be pretty happy. They seem to have good morale there and all seem to be pulling in the same direction.
They are also very well respected and I understand why. They are very upfront with you. They don’t cut corners. They will tell you what work they recommend and don’t recommend. They will tell you what it means if you want to cut corners. Also, they do a broad scope of work.
A: Most of the time I felt confident. I looked forward to those weekly meetings to find out what was going on with our project.
A: I feel they have a lot of integrity. If you’re building a building, you’re not doing something that you’re going to throw away in a couple of years. Key Builders explained that they try to go for as much value as possible for the money. They are very dedicated to that, and that’s a great thing. In this day and age, I often have to say that they don’t make things the way they used to, but Key Builders is definitely on the opposite end of that spectrum.
A: I got the impression that they try to do things strategically. They take steps to make sure things are done in the right order. They seemed very organized in their communications with and scheduling of contractors. I would think that this would transfer into money savings.
— Rev. Scott Porter, Senior Pastor, Abiding Word Church
When the Abiding Word Church of Princeton, Illinois, decided to build a new facility, they partnered with Key Builders’ design-build construction management services to create a church that would inspire.
In 2006, Key Builders won a $1.2 million contract for the construction of Prophets Riverview, a 24,000 sq. ft. independent living / assisted living facility in Prophetstown, Illinois. CADM Architecture of El Dorado, Ark., was so pleased with the relationship and Key Builders’ work, that the firm has invited Key Builders to go on the road to Lodi, Wisc., to complete the renovation of a skilled care nursing facility.
A: They are good all the way around. They are very accommodating when the owner has questions or concerns about the project, and they are very accommodating about changes. They are also easy to communicate with, and they are very good at keeping the client informed about the status of the project. And of course, the quality of their work is very good. Compared to a lot of contractors, they make my job easy.
A: They have been very competitive on price. In fact, on the two projects that they have been contracted on, they have been the most competitive price of all received.
A: Actually, there was one instance in the project in Illinois where a problem occurred with a city water pipe that Key Builders took the initiative to get resolved before it became a big problem, even though it wasn’t their responsibility. It was a city water main that started to leak and could have caused extensive erosion to several properties. It was adjacent to the project site, so it could have caused significant damage had Key Builders not dealt with it. It possibly could have negatively impacted both the neighbors and the project site.
It just shows that they go that extra mile in dealing with things that may not be necessarily their responsibility, but because it would be in the best interest of the project to do so.
A: I enjoy working with them, because I know the people involved and the quality of their work. They will do everything they can to keep projects moving according to schedule. I also know that they will take action to deal with problems that arise during construction.