It was an unfortunate encounter with Mother Nature during a late spring afternoon more than four decades ago that introduced Nelson and his family to Morton Buildings.
“In 1968, there was a major tornado in this area and it basically (destroyed) every farm shed and most of the houses,” he said of a May 15 twister that struck a series of rural central Illinois communities, including his own, just 20 minutes south of Bloomington. “Morton came in to this area and was building buildings within a week after the tornado. Our family ended up with three Morton buildings out of that storm.”
Two of those buildings continue to stand into the 21st century, including his father’s garage that hasn’t needed much maintenance beyond a coat of paint for the roof. It was this connection forged many years ago that led Nelson to choose Morton for his newest project, a 4,050-square-foot airplane hangar on his farm completed in late 2005.
“We had a very good sales representative at the time. Every time we had any building project, Morton seemed to come up first. When we came back to the home farm to build this particular building, we contacted the sales rep and he was right on the ball to help us out.”
Nelson’s vision became a 54’W x 16’H x 75’L structure with a slew of Morton’s trademark features. Beige Hi-Rib steel and brown wainscot surround the post-frame structure that also includes a porch and FiberSteel walkdoors. Like many of our satisfied customers, Morton’s Energy Performer insulation package played a major role in the design process for Nelson.
“The airplanes are part of our heritage. (Our family) has been flying airplanes for a long time. We have to have them in a storage area or a hangar that’s going to be well-maintained. It can’t leak water, it can’t leak anything. It’s heated and cooled by Geothermal (energy) and we’re using less than $100 a month to do both. I can have meetings in here in the summertime. My granddaughters love to play in here. It’s 95 outside and only 70 inside … we use it all year-round.”
Including an attached shop area, the building is approximately 7,000 square feet. The structure was prepared and put together by crews based in Morton, Illinois, home of Morton’s corporate headquarters.
And while the building was built primarily for his first love and his family’s legacy – airplanes – Nelson designed the project with a long-term future in mind and left the door open, literally, for alternative uses.
“For the case that maybe we won’t have airplanes in here, we can still bring in the combines, we can still bring in the bigger machinery. This building is built so that we could do more than just one thing with it. So it has a 40-foot door on it. We know we can bring in the big combine if we needed to … We wanted diversity, we wanted longevity in the building and we wanted to make sure that it looked good.”
With a clear long-term plan for the use of the building, Morton’s non-prorated, non-pass-through warranty proved to be an excellent fit for Nelson.
“Having a good guarantee and a warranty and a network that I know I could count on is, to me, a big deal. I don’t want to have to worry about it every two or three years, either having to paint it or fix it or something’s gone wrong and now it won’t work. It was very important to us to have a good … sales team behind it. Plus we know that if we make a phone call, they’ll be out here to fix it.”
And when asked if he would build with Morton again if the opportunity presented itself?
“I think I can really say it’s probably my first choice in a pole construction-type building. Their (building options) now are even better than they were five years ago. We’ve had several (friends) ask about what we think about it and I have to recommend Morton Buildings.”
Airplanes hangars are just a portion of a large array of custom suburban structures provided by Morton, including garages, hobby buildings, work shops and homes. Morton boasts more than 100 construction centers nationwide and serves as America’s leader in post-frame construction among farm, commercial, suburban and equestrian projects.