In the first 10 years of business, Nunn Construction began a long relationship with another Colorado Springs organization dedicated to mission work. Focus on the Family was founded in 1976 by Dr. James Dobson with an endeavor to redeem families worldwide through Christ. After moving from a few early sites in 1990, they received a $4 million dollar grant to relocate the ministry to Colorado Springs. Over the next year, nearly 350 employees were relocated to Colorado Springs, and the organization hired another 400 team members. In 1993, nearly 15,000 guests attended the dedication of their new campus at Briargate.
GROWING & EVOLVING TO EMBRACE A VISION
The following year, in 1994, Nunn was chosen to build their iconic Welcome Center expansion. This facility celebrates and welcomes the many visitors seeking a destination and to be connected to family-centric resources. Dr. James Dobson wrote to Ray Nunn after its completion expressing his gratitude in working with Nunn on the project and that “the new facility has already received rave reviews from employees, visitors and community members alike.” The popular Whit’s End children area is still a popular space for play, creativity, and exploration during families’ visits. Since its opening, over five million visitors have explored the Welcome Center, many traveling down the iconic three-story slide, visiting the art gallery and theater or to hear their favorite Adventure in Odyssey stories come to life in the Radio Studio.
Focus on the Family’s campus, from the mid-90s to present day, also evolved multiple times to meet the changing needs of their ministry. In 1999, additional office space was desperately needed for their growing staff and programs. Nunn completed a 135,000-square-foot office expansion which was, at the time, their largest project to date. Ray remembers, “I was thrilled that Focus chose to work with us again and on such a huge project at the time. As a man of faith, it meant a lot to me to get to work for an organization whose mission I deeply respected: they are advocates for encouraging healthy families which in turn help create stronger communities.”
The organization celebrated its millionth visitor in 2000. Over time, Focus on the Family also shifted its spaces to reflect the changing needs of their ministries. Nunn Construction is extremely proud to have partnered with them and supported their work through 20 small and large projects in the last 30 years.
CONNECTING EMPLOYEES WITH EACH OTHER
We’ve been a dedicated partner with Focus on the Family in evolving their spaces to match their mission and values. After the emergence of social media started changing the landscape of digital conversations and reach, they were early adopters, and in 2009 a social media-focused space along with a data room was added to their headquarters.
Today, in response to a changing workplace environment, Focus on the Family continues to lead with bold investment in their people and spaces. After mandated work-from-home orders, when many organizations questioned if the centralized office space would ever return, Focus on the Family, stepped up their commitment to a workplace environment. The pandemic cast a stark light on the critical supports missing for wellbeing when families felt ill-equipped to deal with the stresses of remote work/learning, and global social and economic uncertainty. Despite feeling the renewed importance of their mission and work, the pandemic and working remotely also strained Focus on the Family’s staff capacity and many teetered on burnout.
While remote work offered some benefits such as reduced overhead costs in office space and more flexibility for staff, like many other organizations, they realized there is little replacement for the community and types of collaborative mentorship that more naturally exists in face-to-face interactions. As a result, when their staff started returning to the workplace, Focus on the Family committed to investing in office renovations to better care for mental and physical health. A new wellness center that promotes movement and exercise and a social gathering space with quiet places to restore, relax and connect with each other were completed last September. The Gathering Space especially offers a variety of unique spaces to gather, meet, get coffee, or offer quiet reflection and focused reading.
Mike Vlaanderen, Focus on the Family’s Director of Facilities, noted that their team is very happy with how the spaces turned out, and that many folks now hold meetings in the Gathering Space and enjoy the option of a change of scenery from cubicles. We applaud their example in creating unique spaces that help bridge the gap formed in the pandemic between the traditional office of the past and integrating lessons learned around the importance of mental health and community. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we continue to be grateful partner with Focus on the Family in creating strong, healthy families and communities.