Storied San Angelo Construction Company Shutters Doors and No One is Talking
SAN ANGELO, TX — A storied San Angelo company appears to have shut its doors and moved out of town and no one will tell us what is going on. We reached out to Templeton Construction several times, but a spokesman there didn’t want to go on record.
Today, Templeton Construction’s offices in San Angelo are empty, the employees and fixtures moved out, and real estate for sale signs adorn the frontage of the headquarters. The company was founded in 1927.
A rumor is the construction company relocated to Austin. On the Templeton website, the only indication there is an Austin office is a phone number listed on their contact page, but with a San Angelo prefix of 325.
Templeton Construction was the general contractor for many landmarks in the region. The company restored the old Hemphill-Wells Department Store building into the Stephens Library for Tom Green County. Other projects include the Museum of Fine Arts, The Bosque, the McNease Convention Center, the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, and the brand new Del Rio Port of Entry.
More projects built by Templeton are:
- Multiple buildings on Goodfellow Air Force Base,
- Emmanuel Episcopal Church,
- Sacred Heart Cathedral,
- Holy Angels Catholic Church,
- Johnson Street Church of Christ,
- Sierra Vista United Methodist Church,
- San Angelo Stadium,
- Junell Center/Stephens Arena at Angelo State University,
- YMCA San Angelo,
- San Angelo Bowie Elementary,
- San Angelo Bonham Elementary,
- San Angelo Lamar Elementary,
- San Angelo Belaire Elementary,
- The Tom Green County Jail,
- West Texas Rehabilitation Center,
- And multiple additions for the Shannon Health system.
What may have stalled Templeton’s legacy was its renovation of Mathis Field’s new terminal building in San Angelo. The project dragged on for years after its original scheduled completion date. For over a year, the agenda for the bi-monthly meetings of the City of San Angelo Council meetings listed Templeton Construction as a discussion item in executive session.
We asked the City why Templeton is such a hot topic in all of these secret executive sessions. “The City of San Angelo and Templeton Construction are discussing whether the contractor is due additional payments related to the extended timeframe to renovate San Angelo Regional Airport’s terminal or whether the City should receive liquidated damages because of delays in completing the project. The City hopes to amicably resolve those questions. There is a possibility those issues could be litigated at some future point. That being the case, commenting further would not be prudent,” stated City Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson.
The $5.9 million remodel of the San Angelo Regional Airport was completed in December 2015. No one will go on record about what exactly the point of contention was between the City and Templeton.
What we were able to learn from talking to industry veterans close to the project was the remodel plans changed and Templeton was stuck within the confines of a fixed cost contract. The changes were substantial and could have worked under a cost-plus contract instead of a fixed bid. Regardless, Templeton stretched to add the additional work, and according to dated news reports at KLST, the City obliged with change orders, but the additional money may not have been enough to keep Templeton on track.
The issue was caused by the City not having the original plans that were drawn before constructing the original 1955 terminal building. For example, in the teardown leading up to the start of the remodel, a conduit for wiring was found spanning the ceiling of the main building was discovered. Relocating that, or dealing with it, was not in the original specifications, according to the 2013 news report.
Hence, the City of San Angelo and Templeton have their horns locked in a multi-year dispute over the final cost of the airport project, and it is all under the threat of litigation. That means no one is talking.
The City’s inflexibility for increasing the amount of money it will spend on the $5.9 million airport remodel is evident in the project’s funding mechanism. The FAA gave the City $5.1 million. The half-cent sales tax from COSA-DC contributed an additional $500,000. The remainder of the project’s financing came from airport user fees. The City did not budget any general revenue funds originating from property taxes or sales tax, other than part of the budget from the half-cent sales tax contribution for economic development.
Templeton Construction has annual revenues of $44.4 million and employs 150 people according to Hoover’s.
At yesterday’s Tom Green County Commissioners’ Court, Templeton’s President Gary McClure was on the agenda to talk to the commissioners about the new county jail. “Consider authorizing the county to enter into negotiations with McClure Consulting LLC. for RFSQ 17-013 ‘Construction Consulting Services,’” read the agenda. At the meeting, the item was tabled since Judge Steve Floyd requested the item, and Floyd was absent.