Shelton Construction Co.

Owner McArthur Shelton brings plenty of knowledge, experience to the job

McArthur Shelton, owner of Shelton Construction Co., inside the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, which he designed the floor plan for, in northeast Gainesville.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.

McArthur Shelton, owner of Shelton Construction Co., brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table when it comes to most all of the phases of building construction.

And it is that knowledge and experience that has allowed him to sustain and grow his business since it was founded in 1986.

Before starting his own business, he gained experience as an estimator at SL Construction, a Gainesville-based black-owned construction company. He said an estimator is the person who determines the cost of construction projects.

"Estimating is really the backbone to survival because if you don't price out all parts of a project correctly, it can cost you money as the general contractor," said Shelton, while sitting in his office at 1801 NE 23rd Ave., No. G7. "When you put together a bid, you have to price out the different parts of the job, from the plumbing to the heating and air conditioning, and the electrical and roofing work."

Shelton said as a general contractor, he picks and chooses what subcontractors he wants to work on a job with him, and as it is with any general contractor who is over a project, it is his responsibility to make sure all goes well.

"When I'm giving a job, I am ultimately responsible for that job, and nobody can come on that job unless I hire them to come on the job," said Shelton.

Early in his professional career, Shelton also worked as an appraiser in the 1980s at First Federal Savings & Loans of Mid-Florida in Gainesville. He said the experience he got there from doing more than 1,000 building inspections gave him the confidence to believe he could be a successful general contractor.

He graduated from Riviera Beach Sun Coast High School in Palm Beach County in 1972 before becoming the first black to graduate with a bachelor's degree from the real estate department (with a minor in finance) in 1975 at the University of Florida. He earned his master's degree in real estate in 1978, also from UF. He has been married to Pearlie Shelton, a dean at Buchholz High School, since 1979, and the couple has three sons and he has a daughter from a previous relationship.

Shelton said he can handle all kinds of jobs, but he has found himself doing more churches the past few years. He said there have been times when he did a lot of custom homebuilding and he has even retrofitted a restaurant — the China Buffet at the Gainesville Shopping Center on N. Main Street. He also remodeled the canopy and marquee at Sunny Food Mart at 1136 NE 8th Ave. after a delivery truck hit a beam and damaged the building.

Raj Patel, co-owner of the store, said Shelton did a good job repairing the structural damage. "He did a good job when he was here," Patel said. "We are satisfied with his work."

Shelton said some of the church sanctuaries he has worked on include Compassionate Outreach Ministries, Johnson Chapel Baptist Church and Mount Moriah Baptist Church, all in Gainesville; Gordon Chapel Church in Hawthorne, and Church of God by Faith Youth Center in Starke. He also completed remodeling work at Faith Tabernacle Church in Jacksonville after a fire and has done work at Hope Chapel Ministries, also in Jacksonville.

His prize work, however, is the construction of Upper Room Church of God in Christ at 3575 NE 15th St., where he serves on the deacon board. He said he created the floor plan for the church and worked with an architect on the design of the church.

"When we got with the architect, I gave them a drawing of a layout of what we wanted, as far as the classrooms, offices and everything," Shelton said. "It was exciting and good to get it out of my head and on to brick and mortar because when you have it in your head, it is just like when a musician says he is trying to write a song. It stays in your head and you can't wait to get it out of your head."

Shelton said he is especially proud of the "barrels," arch-based construction features, that are built at the entrance of the sanctuary and in the choir area, a feature he said building inspectors with the city of Gainesville didn't really think would work in the building. The barrels originated in ancient Egypt and were used extensively in Roman architecture.

"They (inspectors) complimented at the end of the day that they were impressed that I made it happen, because that barrel in the front entrance rounds, comes in, then it rounds back. It is very unusual."

The phone number for the company is 352-376-8852.

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