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Event Center recognized

WORTHINGTON — Even though Consolidated Construction Co. Inc. received the award, the recognition should go beyond one company, Jeff Perras said.

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“It was definitely a community project, so everyone deserves a little bit of the credit, that’s for sure,” said Perras, partner with Consolidated.

Consolidated Construction earned a gold award on Thursday in the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin for the company’s work as the lead contractor on the Worthington Event Center and Comfort Suites.

“We found out about three months ago, but we were asked to keep in confidential until we had a chance to issue press releases,” Perras said. “It’s a state-level award. It’s from a group called the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and it’s the Wisconsin chapter of the national organization that gives out these awards. It’s a competitive award. We competed against a number of other projects with our other state chapter members. We’re fortunate to win.”

The company received three gold awards at the ceremony Thursday. It was also recognized for the Life Church in Germantown, Wis., and Utech Consulting in DePere, Wis.

“We always make that many applications, but I can’t say we always get three,” Perras said. “We’re pretty blessed this year to get three. We’ve gotten a state-level award almost every year since we bought the company in 2006. This will also go into the national award competition, where we’ll be competing with projects done at various state chapters all throughout the country. We will learn later this summer whether we have won that. We have won a national award in 2010.”

In a letter on behalf of the city of Worthington, Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis wrote, “On behalf of the city of Worthington, I would like to offer my endorsement and gratitude to Consolidated Construction Company for their work on the Worthington Event Center. This public/private joint venture has been over six years in the making and was strongly supported and monitored by the entire community, as evidenced by the voters’ 60 percent approval of the project’s sales tax funding revenue and significant local media coverage throughout the project.”

The project was pitted against others across the state. But Perras said there were some key elements that set the Worthington project apart.

“I think the fact that it’s a private-public partnership is an important element here,” he said. “I think the fact our hospitality team had worked with the city and the hotel developer for a number of years in looking at various option and making sure the hotel brand was right for the community. It was also the seamless nature of the design, how complementary the Event Center and hotel are.

“The actual construction went pretty well,” Perras continued. “It was a very safe project, that’s one of their big criteria is safety. The project was done on time and under budget. Those are all things they judge us on when they compare it to other projects.”

In a recent interview, Jackie Tentinger, event manager of the Worthington Event Center, said the facility is booked every weekend for this summer.

“There are risks for everybody, there really are,” Perras said. “I’m so glad the community is feeling that way. That was our highest hopes for everybody involved, so I’m very, very glad to hear that.” Chapulis said it has attracted new opportunities.

“Now, as I personally attend events at the Worthington Event Center, and watch it attract new business meetings and conferences, and family-centered events to the area, I am grateful for the tenacity, perseverance and professionalism of the Consolidated Construction team,” he wrote. “It is rare to find this in a contractor today, and I hope that by recognizing them, they may inspire others to work as diligently and creatively on behalf of their customers.”

Perras was the partner in charge of the Event Center, but gives credit to Gene Schleusner, the company’s director of hospitality.

“He is really the one who deserves the credit for this,” Perras said. “He was responsible for really the overall partnership and the hotel and overall development of the site. It was he who should get all the credit.”

Chapulis was pleased to hear of the company’s award.

“It’s great to see them get recognition on a regional basis where it shows the commitment they have made to making this project come from conceptual to completion,” Chapulis said. “With any project, you get bumps in the road, but Consolidated was there and guided us, as the owner, in the direction that we needed to go. They allowed us to make decisions, but they gave us the information necessary to make that important decision. That’s what really stood out for me.”

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen can be reached at 376-7323.