When a three-alarm fire and flood destroyed the Literacy Council of Central
Alabama’s downtown Birmingham location last May, a plan was quickly in
place to rebuild bigger and better.
Renovation enabled the council to double its adult education programs and with a limited budget did so in just 12 weeks, a feat Literacy Council President and Executive Director Beth Wilder calls “impressive.”
“It was an honor to work with the entire project team to take an unfortunate set of circumstances
and transform it into a restored and improved environment for such a meaningful
organization,” says Brasfield & Gorrie Division Manager Robby Hayes, the project’s
general contractor. Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood handled the architectural services.
The council operates in a 1909 four-story warehouse building once home to Liberty Overall
Co. Formerly parceled into small rooms, their office now has a more functional and visually
pleasing open floor plan. Characteristics of the original loft were left intact including the
ceiling’s exposed ductwork and brick walls showing a century of wear. Glass-enclosed
rooms keep the open floor plan unencumbered. Located on ground level, the sweeping
layout creates a welcoming view from the street.
“We were able to replace tiny, crowded office spaces and rooms with an open floor plan
and to include a computer lab,” explains GMC’s director of healthcare, Steve Alby. “In the
end the destruction of the Literacy Council’s original office, while devastating, provided a
tremendous opportunity for GMC to design a space that the organization could be proud
to call home.”