Local architect awarded for designs
Gym project completed in Bremen — open house this weekend
By Angel Perkins
BREMEN — Many people leave historic or monetary legacies for loved ones but one Bremen man is leaving another type of legacy — the kind that will likely be around for a good century. Matthew VanSoest, Bremen native and (2004) BHS graduate, has worked for Ancon Construction Company interning since 2006 ,and after graduating from Ball State (in 2010) with a master’s degree in architecture, went on to be a full-time building designer for the company.
“I specialize in education and religious structural design,” explained the 26-year-old. “I enjoy working with the teachers and helping and working with the ministry. It’s the greatest joy to work with that area of clientele.”
VaSoest said it was in second or third grade that his passion for creating structures was realized. His uncle, also an architect, took him to Chicago and inspired him with the older building designs as well as the modern, more sculpted modern buildings. “In the winter months I would build LEGO buildings … and then cities,” he explained.
That passion led him to his most recent accomplishments— winning two design and construction awards through the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC) Indiana Chapter. He and his team’s projects beat out 34 competitors statewide.
The Angola Dental Center Project won the “Award of Excellence” in the category “Healthcare Under $3 Million.” The 7,000-square-foot building addition, renovation project, and site development adds modern architecture to the small-town charm of Angola.
The Riverside Terrace Ballroom Project won the “Award of Honor” in the category “Renovation–Non Historical Under $3 Million.” The project transformed an abandoned gymnasium into a 7,000-square-foot upscale ballroom and conference center, located on the banks of the St. Joseph River in Mishawaka.
VanSoest and five other members of the Ancon Construction team: John Place, president; Gary Wetzel, vice president; Cullen Stanger, project manager; Todd Stone, project manager; and Tony Black, field superintendent, accepted the awards Sept. 25 in Indianapolis. Last year the company — including VanSoest — was awarded for its efforts involving the Basney Honda location in Mishawaka, Eddy Street at ND, as well as the Potawatomi Zoo’s river otter exhibit in South Bend.
Ancon Construction, based in Goshen, was begun in 1975 and is 100 percent employee-owned. The company specializes in commercial, educational, religious, health, industrial, and manufacturing building design.
Even with those impressive accolades under his belt, VanSoest’s most rewarding projects involve his home town of Bremen.
“I think the St. Paul’s (gymnasium) construction project means the most to me because I went to school there from kindergarten through eighth grade,” he said. “It’s also my church so it’s been a great accomplishment for me to design something for my school and my congregation.”
He said his designs are also reflected to employees and the public at Bremen Castings (where he worked on the team for the company’s recently-completed office addition) and Universal Bearings (where he was on the design team that created a warehouse addition last year.
The St. Paul’s Lutheran addition project is fully complete with a 11,500-square-foot gymnasium/multi-purpose facility and includes a middle school-size court, platform area, restrooms, locker rooms, concession area, a two-story atrium lobby, and open mezzanine/second floor which will be used for various activities.
The project represents the fourth of a 40year, five-phase plan for the Center Street campus which houses the main worship sanctuary, the pre-school/middle-school campus and now the gymnasium.
A dedication ceremony will be held Sept. 30 at 10:45 a.m. following a special worship service at 9:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.
St. Paul Lutheran Church and Schools, part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, is located at 605 E. Center St., near the southern edge of Bremen. The congregation, founded in 1846, is comprised of 550 members. Sunday worship includes services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., along with Sunday school at 9:15 a.m.