Archive for June, 2014

CMH Helps Cordova Recover from April 2011 Tornadoes

Birmingham, Ala. (June 27, 2014) — In the aftermath of the April tornadoes of 2011, CMH Architects teamed with Cordova Mayor Drew Gilbert and City Planner Steve Ostaseski to pursue a grant to fund the redevelopment of the city. Their efforts paid off as they were awarded a HUD grant for tornado recovery from the State of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The project will not only rebuild City Hall and provide a Police Department facility, but the grant also calls for the reconfiguration of the main street road infrastructure downtown.

The two functions will be integrated into a single, interconnected, energy-efficient structure. The jail and law enforcement offices will include the latest technology, such as touch-screen security system and CCTV, as well as card access for jail and administrative employees. City Hall will feature administrative offices as well as a combined council chamber, courtroom, and community meeting room to accommodate 85 people.

“CMH has the City’s trust and confidence that we will have a project completed on time and within budget,” said Ostaseski. “They believe in our vision for the future and we are confident that our City Hall will be an addition to the city that is admired for decades into the future.” The project was bid May 6, 2014 and was awarded to the low bidder at a below budget contract amount of $3,447,352.00.  Construction for this project will start in early July 2014 and be complete in June 2015.

CMH Transforms Abandoned Grocery Store into a Modern Day Library and Public Facility

Birmingham, Ala. (June 23, 2014) — After extensive planning, the Athens-Limestone Public Library renovation project has begun construction. This project involves the conversion of an abandoned Kroger grocery store building into a versatile community facility. The building incorporates a public library, rentable large meeting room, rentable small meeting room, computer lab, coffee and snack area, used bookstore, and modern features like access to public computers and wireless internet.

MLIS Director of the Athens-Limestone Public Library, Paula Laurita, is enthusiastic, stating that “working with CMH is a pleasure. They listen to our vision, designing for our strengths and our unique needs, not just following trends. Together we are creating a community gathering place.” In addition to this collaborative and innovative design, the preliminary cost estimates for the project have come in under budget, a longtime hallmark of CMH projects.

The revitalized structure utilizes sustainable design principles through energy-efficient light fixtures and conditioning equipment, low-flow toilet fixtures, shaded glazing on the southern and western exposures, and complete building reuse, among other features. Construction of the phase-two interior portion of the project is currently underway with a building completion date estimated for fall of 2014.

When a Bike Is More Than a Bike

Birmingham, Ala. (June 9, 2014) — When is a bike more than just a bike?  In the case of the bikes made in Hale County by HERO, each bike is much more than the sum of its parts.

I have been working with Merrill Stewart from Stewart Perry Construction to help him with renovations at his Shoal Creek home, as well as doing the interior architecture/design for his family’s new cabin in Cashiers, North Carolina.  During a meeting at Merrill’s office a few months ago, I had noticed a bamboo-framed city bike in the office lobby and commented to Merrill how I was familiar with the bike because of its recent exposure at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.  After Merrill learned that I was an avid cyclist, he would come to make a very generous gesture and offered me the bike as a form of appreciation for my ongoing work with him on his projects.  For that, I cannot thank Merrill enough, as the bike has not only become a conversation piece amongst everyone who sees it, but it has also been a fun way for me to get around my neighborhood and will be perfect for the next time I take my kids to Railroad Park to ride bikes.

Why a conversation piece?  It starts with the bamboo frame, which has a front triangle made of sections of bamboo that are sliced and glued together in a hex shape with carbon fiber lining.  Upon first seeing it, one of my daughters immediately dubbed it the Pencil Bike.  I could list all of the specifics, but a more thorough gear review of the bike can be found on my racing team’s website at

The other reason the bike becomes the topic of conversation is because I make it a point to inform everyone that not only are the bikes made in-state (in Greensboro, the birthplace of Auburn University’s Rural Studio), but the proceeds are used to fund the Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO).  HERO’s mission is to end poverty in Alabama’s Black Belt by providing economic development, community resources, housing education, and affordable housing construction.  I strongly encourage anyone reading this to visit to learn more about this passionate organization.  Additionally, a visit to will provide you with an opportunity to see the various bikes they have for sale.  If you want to see a nice video article from CBS regarding Pam Dorr, who is the executive director of HERO, click here.  For that matter, just google “Pam Dorr Greensboro Alabama” and see what else pops up.