July 26th, 2019 – Vestavia Hills, AL: For Murray Building Company, construction is about allowing the building process to be a “niche”, or a comfortable place, for the people served by it. Sure, the building itself should serve its purpose in being well-planned, well-designed, and well-constructed, but if you think about it, the process itself can be a wonderful and sometimes missed opportunity to add unique value, provide influence, and build meaningful relationships.
Ardent Preschool & Daycare (formally Covenant Classical Schools) chose Murray Building Company to build its new Greystone facility in 2017. When the project completed in 2018, the owner/architect/contractor team realized it had experienced something special. Not just in the opening of a beautiful facility that set a higher standard for the aesthetic of the school and its new brand (which was unveiled as Ardent shortly after completion of the facility), but in the process of working together as a team to serve each other and ultimately play roles in the Larger Story through business, a pursuit that is discussed often in the hallways and on jobsites at MBC. In this opportunity to serve a new client who was used to a very different design and construction process, MBC saw the value of a team that could use its influence and transcendent ethos to achieve inspired results and positive returns. In introducing the Ardent team to TurnerBatson Architects, MBC saw an opportunity to work alongside an owner and architect that shared similar beliefs and values, and participate on a team that was energized by the significance of Ardent occupying a building that so appropriately reflected its new brand. The bonding of the team that took place through the process of delivering the project was awe-inspiring. This result is sometimes seen as just a byproduct of a skillfully built facility, but it is central to MBC’s vision and contributes the Larger Story we exist to contribute to!
The team’s success introduced a 2nd opportunity to build a new facility for Ardent in the Birmingham area, this location being the growing Patchwork Farms area in Vestavia Hills near Publix and Lifetime Fitness. A new team member, Cahaba Capital Group, was added to handle the development allowing Ardent to focus more on school operations and the programming for the new building. The talented group at Cahaba is familiar to MBC and fit in well with the group, adding yet another collaborative spirit geared toward the success of the team. As a team many times reflects the characteristics and spirit of its leader, so did the Greystone and Patchwork teams in following the lead of John LaBreche, CEO of Ardent Preschool & Daycare. On both projects John has been received by the entire project team as a visible, vocal, and involved leader. From his opening remarks that invoke a room full of belly-laughs and set the tone at design kickoff meetings, to his Halloween appearance at the jobsite dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi, John exudes a decisive, collaborative, and trusting spirit that is motivating and refreshing to experience. This spirit has permeated the projects and has congealed a team that reaches from John all the way to the individual tradespeople who are skillfully putting the work in place.
When the team suggested some form of groundbreaking ceremony and celebration for the Ardent Patchwork project (which started in January 2019), John, who doesn’t often pass up the opportunity to celebrate something, suggested holding the celebration in the summer when the weather was better and there would be more tradespeople on the jobsite. With agreement from the team, on July 26th MBC, TurnerBatson, and Ardent collaborated to host a jobsite cookout to celebrate the project and the people who’ve worked so hard to deliver it on schedule to this point, and who’ve contributed to such a fantastic team culture. Ardent smoked and served Boston Butts and wings, TurnerBatson provided and served the sides, and MBC provided the tents, tables, chairs, fans, and paper products. The event succeeded to get the project team together, reward the on-site team members, and showcase the project-in-progress to other clients and friends. Coordinating and hosting a meal is relatively simple, but goes such a long way in developing relationships and showing people they are appreciated which again is a nod to the Larger Story talked about at MBC.
The Ardent Patchwork project is scheduled to complete later this year, and another Ardent project to be built in Huntsville by this team is currently in the design phase.
About the team: Ardent Preschool & Daycare strives to maximize each child’s early school experience. It was founded by Christians, is directed by Christian leaders, and is taught by an all-Christian staff of prayerfully hired teachers. TurnerBatson strives to deliver its services with humility, excellence, and creativity, and their faith in God is foundational to their mission and is the basis for their ultimate purpose. MBC’s vision is to be a niche for their team and others they serve because of their unique value, influence, and desire to build meaningful relationships, striving each day to provide excellent construction service that achieves inspired results and positive returns. The nucleus of this team is something larger than each of the individual components, which is a powerful motivator and leads to an inspired product.