In the middle of the Great Depression (hardly the best time to start a business), two brothers decide to pursue their mutual dream of having their own construction company. Eudore (on the right in the photo) and George Fontaine (on the left) issue 35 shares of common stock and Fontaine Bros., Inc., is born.
Fontaine Bros. contributes to the war effort by constructing barracks and base housing at Westover Air Force Base. WWII marks the company’s transition from homebuilder to general contractor.
Ray Fontaine takes over as president and sets out to make Fontaine Bros. the major industrial and commercial contractor in Western New England.
In many ways, Fontaine’s growth mirrors the country’s evolution. As the Baby Boom generation gets rolling, the demand for schools becomes acute, and school building becomes a specialty for our company. In 1959 alone, we are awarded the contracts for Longmeadow Junior High School, Sheas Elementary School in Agawam, East Street School in Ludlow, and Blunt Park School in Springfield.
Fontaine Bros. is awarded the contract to build the UMass Medical School in Worcester. The $50 million contract is the largest single contract awarded in Massachusetts to date. Two years later, Engineering News-Record will list our company among the top 100 contractors in America.
With Ray retiring, Lester Fontaine takes over as president of Fontaine Bros. Despite the company’s growth, Lester remains accessible to clients; all they have to do is pick up the phone and ask for him. It’s a level of communication and accountability that will continue with the company’s leadership for generations. School building slows during this period, and Fontaine Bros. adapts to the surge in home construction. It will build 10,000 housing units in the 1980s alone.
With the completion of the $25 million William J. Dean Vocational School, Fontaine Bros. crosses the $1 billion threshold of construction placed in service.
The third generation of family leadership assumes the helm. Dave Fontaine, Sr., takes over as president of Fontaine Bros., Inc., while his cousin, Chris, joins him as executive vice president.
Fontaine Bros. wins the $48 million contract for the renovation of the Springfield Civic Center and the construction of the new MassMutual Center downtown.
Fontaine Bros. finishes work on Ashland High School, the first school completed under the green building criteria established by the Massachusetts Collaborative for High Performance Schools. The school's design and construction emphasize natural daylighting, preserve existing site features, and incorporate locally sourced materials. Fontaine Bros. will soon emerge as a leader in green building, completing MA-CHPS, net-zero, and LEED-certified projects, while earning a place on Engineering News-Record's Top 100 Green Contractors list.
Adding to decades of school building experience, Fontaine Bros. completes construction of the new $75 million Chicopee Comprehensive High School, the largest project in company history.
Classes begin at Western New England University’s new Center for the Sciences & Pharmacy. Fontaine Bros. serves as Construction Manager at Risk on this innovative building, which features first-class laboratory and learning spaces to support growing science and pharmacy programs. Our tradespeople are able to accelerate the project schedule by self-performing the concrete, carpentry, and masonry, and the center becomes one of several successful projects for the university, including dormitories, laboratories, and lecture spaces.
Fontaine Bros. shares the Paul E. Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts for the team's work in revitalizing Berkshire Hall, Berkshire School's main academic building. The 15-month restoration completely reshapes the building's interior, bringing new life to the circa-1931 structure while maintaining its classical exterior. Fontaine Bros. will partner with the school on several other projects, including the LEED Gold-certified Bellas/Dixon Math & Science Center.
Fontaine Bros. celebrates its 80th year in style, placing nearly 1 million square feet of completed projects into service and landing on the Engineering News-Record Top 400 Contractors list. Doors open in East Bridgewater, West Springfield, Wilbraham, and Easthampton, as work continues across the state. Fontaine is also selected as the Construction Manager at Risk on the 100,000-square-foot Auburn Middle School project.