White-Spunner Construction, established in Mobile in 1981 and recently ranked the 19th largest general contractor in Alabama in 2015 by Business Alabama, has completed the new 97,000-square-foot Citronelle High School for the Mobile County Public School System, Alabama’s largest. More than 800 students in grades 9-12 began classes in the new school building on Aug. 10.

In late 2014, WSC won the bid for general contractor with a $22 million proposal. Ground was broken in January 2015 on the two-story building, across the street from the existing high school on a 13-acre site. The project is one of several included in Mobile County Public Schools’ plan to complete $100 million in school construction during the next two years.

Citronelle’s new North Campus consists of a new cafeteria and dining area, an expansive media center and library, and an auditorium complete with a performance stage and theater lights. The high school accommodates 37 high-tech classrooms, each equipped with smartboard technology, plus fully functional chemistry and biology labs.

According to Tommy Sheffield, executive manager of operations for MPCSS, the new Citronelle High School includes a career academy focusing on manufacturing, industry and technology. “When schools like this are built, new businesses tend to grow up around them. Everyone wants to send their children to a brand new school,” he said.

A second phase of the project will include demolition and renovation of the original school, WSC senior project manager Brandon Miller said. “Our team will also renovate approximately 60,000 square feet of the existing school and furnish freestanding boys’ and girls’ locker rooms,” he said. “The newly renovated South Campus will serve as a vocational and technical department, and a state-of-the-art culinary facility will replace the existing cafeteria.”

Mobile-based TAG/The Architects Group was also involved in the project.

Commercial real estate moves
Veteran-owned Warlord Beard Oil Co. has leased 3,800 square feet of office and warehouse space at 3759 Industrial Park Drive in Mobile, with Sept. 1 anticipated occupancy. Jack Conger, Stirling Properties leasing executive, represented the tenant.

Warlord Beard Oil Co., which provides men’s beard and grooming products, was founded in Mobile nearly two years ago, and this marks the first lease-purchase for the company. Owners plan to build a production site within the next three years.

The Learning Tree Inc. has purchased property at 5451 Able Court in Mobile for $618,000. The property includes existing office and warehouse facilities totaling 15,190 square feet. The acquisition is located adjacent to The Learning Tree’s current facility and will house office and support staff, as well as allow for future school expansion. Stirling Property leasing executive Nathan Handmacher handled the transaction. The Learning Tree is a nonprofit organization geared to providing educational, residential and support services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.

As first reported in Lagniappe last week, Canfor Southern Pine Inc., one of the world’s largest producers of sustainable lumber, pulp and paper, recently announced the relocation of its U.S. headquarters from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Mobile. Canfor Southern Pine merged with locally owned Gulf Lumber Co. in 2013 and currently operates 16 facilities in the Southeast, according to its website.

The new headquarters will occupy approximately 18,000 square feet on more than three floors of the historic Van Antwerp Building located at 101 Dauphin St. in LoDa, making the building now fully occupied. Allan R. Cameron with NAI-Mobile represented the tenant in the lease transaction.
 
Twenty new jobs will come to Mobile and 25 positions will be retained locally. The company has nearly 1,900 employees and operates 11 sawmills, four secondary manufacturing plants and a trucking firm, all located in the Southern U.S. In Alabama, Canfor has sawmills in Mobile, Jackson and Fulton as well as a treatment plant in Mobile.

Local Wendy’s earns recognition, visit by Department of Energy
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, the newly remodeled Wendy’s eatery located at 3113 Airport Blvd. and adjacent to The Shoppes at Bel Air earned national recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE toured the newly rebuilt restaurant which showcases the Dublin, Ohio-headquartered company’s innovations in reducing energy use. The Mobile location, owned and operated under Pensacola, Florida-based Wendco Group, has reportedly achieved a 43 percent reduction in overall energy use. This energy savings was achieved through a number of retrofits including:

• Switching exterior and interior lighting to 100 percent LED lighting;

• Installing energy-efficient, energy star-certified kitchen equipment; and

• Retrofitting a new, high-efficiency HVAC system, including new rooftop units with variable-speed compressors and fans.

According to a news release, as the first restaurant chain to include franchisees in the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, Wendy’s International has committed to a 20 percent energy savings over 10 years, across 1.5 million square feet of building space within company-owned restaurants.

More than 500 Wendy’s company- and franchisee-operated restaurants are participating in the Better Buildings Challenge. As of July 3, Wendy’s collectively has 6,490 restaurant locations worldwide. For more information about the DOE’s initiative, visit its website.

Smart Home America promotes state-legislated insurance discounts
Mobile-based nonprofit Smart Home America and its partners announce the launch of “Don’t Goof When You Re-Roof,” an education campaign to inform homeowners about a new fortified home program and that could potentially save up to 35 percent on homeowners insurance.

“Alabama and Mississippi have legislated insurance discounts for homes built or retrofitted to the fortified standard,” Julie Shiyou-Woodard, president and CEO of Smart Home America, said. “Based on a new independent study, these homes are being valued nearly 7 percent higher than similar homes without the standard.”

Both states have legislated incentives for homeowners to build stronger homes, and many municipalities have incorporated fortified recommendations into local building codes.

Public service announcements are scheduled to soon run on local radio and television stations. The campaign website offers instructional videos as well as other information to get set up on the program. For more information visit the campaign website, smarthomeamerica.org.