AGC Maine delivered the news to Ouellet Construction the team receives a Build Maine Award for their project at the St. John’s Community Center in Brunswick. The Build Maine Award is a competitive review by an independent panel of judges from the design, engineering, construction community, and representative who carefully grades the projects into consideration.
The St. John’s Community Center has been a lifetime goal of many who have been involved in the All Saints Parish and its surrounding communities. With hundreds of thousands of unique donations spanning over three decades, this effort culminated into more than just a construction project, it’s a true manifestation of perseverance, selflessness, and collaboration.
“The Ouellet Construction team built a wonderful building that will have a century of use in the Brunswick Community. From the outside, the structure’s design makes a passerby curious about the details included in the interior, and it doesn’t disappoint. The practical use of the building, coupled with a carefully constructed chapel, will have a special place for the area for generations,” said Matt Marks, CEO of AGC Maine.”
This project had been a goal for the All Saints fundraising committee for over 25 years and once the funding had reached a key target, the team was finally able to engage a contractor to begin construction of the multi-purpose facility. Scott Simons Architects, including Scott himself, had been evolving the design of this building for over a decade – a true reflection of the perseverance of both the volunteer building committee and design team. Mike Ouellet (a past fundraising chair in the ’90s) and Luke Ouellet (graduate of St. John’s School) had been closely watching the project with hopes to build it one day and luckily, Ouellet secured the competitive bid in the Fall of 2017.
The project, led in the field by Dean Ouellet, broke ground in early December and faced a couple of early hurdles: Poor soil and frigid temperatures. The soil was easily remedied with over-excavation but the terrible temperatures required a massive effort of ground heaters, insulated blankets, and precise quality control. Ouellet, self-performing our own foundations, battled temperatures so cold at times that concrete plants were unable to mix concrete without the water freezing within the mixture. Extreme care and control of keeping both the local soil and concrete at specified above freezing temperatures was a key component in the success of the first phase of this construction.
The most unique feature of the building is the granite exterior. The majority of the building is skinned with natural 4 to 6-inch thick (varies piece to piece) granite blocks, a true once-in-a-career construction undertaking. This was to serve as an ode to the 130-year-old St. John’s Catholic which sits a mere 200 feet away. This granite veneer creates one of a kind impression whether you are driving by or attending an event at the facility. Teaming up with Nate Libby Masonry, Scott Simons (led by Ryan Kanteres and Kayla Caron) and Ouellet ventured into nearly uncharted territory to integrate this heavy, raw product into a high performing, precise commercial building. Through mock-ups and trial and error, the team was able to create custom details and flashing that not only allow the veneer to tie in seamlessly but also function and breathe as any proper building envelope should.
Concurrently, while the entire project was underway, the volunteer building and fundraising committees were working diligently to raise the remainder of the funding gap of the project. Ouellet and All Saints would end up hosting two events, during construction, to allow the community and potential donors to see their donations hard at work. Those efforts helped to significantly close the fundraising gap and allowed the client to move forward with outfitting their commercial kitchen with brand new foodservice equipment.
In conclusion, battling through terrible temperatures, atypical natural building materials, and navigating a very delicate and political fundraising process, the building has revitalized a key area of the Brunswick community. The building now serves both as a gym and performing arts area for the children attending St. John’s School. Secondly, space is used as a public community center for sports, academic, political, and wedding events for the surrounding parishes and local towns – it truly embodies the multi-purpose function that it was designed for. The entire team could not be happier with the end product and look forward to seeing the building get used for the next 100 years.
Contractor: Ouellet Construction
Client: Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and All Saints Parish
Design Team: Scott Simons Architects, Sitelines, Bennett Engineering
Project Summary: New Construction, 15,000 SF, December 2017 – January 2019