If you are designing a new building or the renovation of an old one for a business or nonprofit, congratulations! As architects, we are always honored to be part of a project from the very beginning.
Our family at KONTEXT architects has also been fortunate to build long-term relationships based on some of the extra services we provide, including simple but important things, like a groundbreaking or kickoff ceremony. It can be an inexpensive way to create a buzz around your client, and the project about to get underway. We have been involved in some fun events, including breaking ground before the project starts, or breaking a wall inside a building about to be renovated -- sledgehammers and hard hats, ready to go! An example of this is in our blog image. A wall breaking was held to kickoff renovations of our design for an old strip mall in Sun Prairie, which would be the new work and office space for the nonprofit, Sunshine Place. The area where the wall breaking event was held, was specifically designed for a community dinner and partner of Sunshine Place, Sunshine Supper. Board members, volunteers, and many others were on hand to celebrate by giving the wall a whack!
There are many ways to set up a groundbreaking or similar style of event, but through our experience, we've found there are four key steps to pull off your plan:
- Timing. Plan ahead when sending invitations, and even consider a "save the date" notice (which can now easily be done via email or facebook). This pre-planning will help ensure you are able to ask the client and staff, community leaders and officials, contractor, builder, architect, banker, supporters, and media. TV and radio, along with newspaper reporters are often interested in sharing how business growth will help the area.
- Promotion. Write and send out a news release, including all of the information needed to understand the impact of your project. Use social media to keep promotion of the event out in the public eye, and if there are some media contacts who are unable to attend, follow up with an email of information about the event along with pictures of what happened. Also, if you have a business magazine in your area, this is the exact type of ceremony and information it will want to share! Connect ahead of time with the printed magazine or on-line editor to learn what to submit for coverage of the event.
- Agenda. Think about who is closely involved in the project, and why. It may be the best way to put together your agenda, including those who will be asked to speak at the ceremony. This can often include a welcome statement from the president of the board of directors, a representative from contractor or builder, and a clear sense of direction when it comes to the actual ground or wall breaking.
- Weather. Concerned rain or snow could ruin your event? If you are going to be outside, plan ahead by working with your project partners to be sure there is a tent, podium, shovels, hard hats, and safety glasses, along with tables, chair and trash bins. This should make your event clean, simple, and fun.