The Literacy Council of Central Alabama Renovations
Size: 8,000 sf
Project Awards: ABC, Excellence in Construction, First Place Eagle Award, 2016
The literacy Council of Central Alabama is a non-profit group that provides adult literacy education for five counties in central Alabama. Their mission is to develop, strengthen and support basic adult literacy and English for speakers of other languages. On May 22, 2014 a fire started on the roof of their First Avenue North home in downtown Birmingham, causing extensive damage to their ground floor office and destroying their learning spaces and all of their teaching materials. They decided to use this opportunity to address some of the growing pains they were already having and approached GMC to help them redesign their space to meet their specific goals and better serve their learners, plus a whole new population of those in need. The building was completely gutted but that also gave them an opportunity to create a bright open space, and expose some of the wood and brick from the original 1920’s structure. This was no easy task given all the layers of tile, glue, carpet pad and plywood that had covered it up since it served as the Liberty Overalls factory in Birmingham. GMC wanted that natural feel by uncovering the hardwood floors and sandblasting the brick walls to restore the original finishes. The open spaces are a contrast to the “rabbit holes” that previously occupied the space. Natural light filters in from the front and back windows, unimpeded by glass walls and partitions and an open plan that flows from front to back. When viewed from the outside you can see all the different learning spaces inside with books on library stacks on one side and computer classrooms on the other. In this new space the area dedicated to learning has tripled in size with more private study carrels, a large multi-use classroom and a new GED and Life Skills Learning Lab that create more learning and teaching opportunities than ever before. What started as a disaster has opened new doors for The Literacy Council to reach new students and provide a greater range of service to the community in downtown Birmingham.
Scope of Services