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Solomon Awards 2019 – Visalia First (Building Contractor)

Visalia First is a vibrant and growing Assembly of God church in central California. Pastors Mike and Karen Robertson lead a dynamic congregation of passionate people impacting both the local and global communities. Worship services consistently offer high quality music, inspired preaching and energetic, age-appropriate children’s ministry.

Pastor Mike first approached Goff Companies in 2007, with a God-inspired vision to expand the church’s facilities including a new Worship Center that would be the largest auditorium in the community. After exploring in-depth the practicality of such an aggressive endeavor, it became clear to both the church and Goff Companies leadership that it was in God’s design to proceed. Over the next several years, Goff assisted Visalia First to develop and advance a business and facility expansion plan to maximize its site and provide for sustainable future growth and financial health. The plan included separating the church’s private school from church operations and reorganizing the church’s fiscal reporting structure into a platform to support long-term economic success.

After working through some difficult and time-consuming internal issues, the church decided to vigorously proceed with the project and engaged Goff Companies to assist with developing and implementing the strategic plan to guide the church from its initial vision to completing construction and occupying the new building. Working closely with GFF Architects as a part of the design team, plans for a beautiful and cost-effective expansion were completed.

The 76,000 square foot project faced numerous obstacles including internal church-governance issues, local, state and national code restrictions, value-engineering and a particularly complex and unique funding structure that included a requirement for the church to raise additional cash resources. Goff Companies established a phased construction buyout and sequenced implementation strategy in order to coordinate construction activities that fit within the church’s somewhat onerous required lending parameters.

Construction was quite successfully completed in September 2018 including a new 2,600 seat Worship Center, state-of-the-art Audio/Video/Lighting/Acoustics package, a large Commons Area with soft seating and coffee bar, and a comprehensive two-story back of house area. Designers incorporated a tilt-wall construction design as the primary structural component. Because of the building’s magnitude, oversized wall panels were required, with the heaviest weighing 140,000 pounds. A part of the cost-effective construction component implemented by Goff was leveraging one of its out-of-state suppliers of structural steel to fabricate and ship to the site, saving the church almost $1 million.

Throughout the project, Goff Companies worked with Visalia First to find cost savings solutions. These efforts provided the opportunity for the church to receive a $225,000 credit mid-way through construction, and subsequently allowed the church to increase the scope of work to include additional items that were previously outside its budgeted funding capacity.

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