Category Tools of the Trade

CM Black Completes Oiles America Headquarter Expansion

CM Black Completes Oiles America Headquarter Expansion

CM Black recently completed a 50,000-square-foot expansion to the Oiles America Corporation headquarter’s manufacturing facility. Located in Concord’s International Business Park, CM Black began construction on the project last fall. Originally scheduled for completion this fall, the project was finished well ahead of schedule.

Photo Aug 01, 12 49 59 PM

The project consisted of several renovations, including additional truck docks, increased parking capacity, incorporating energy-efficiency technology, renovations to the warehouse and office space and new research and development facilities. This is the 2nd expansion of the Oiles America headquarters. CM Black was also the general contractor for their 30,000-square-foot expansion in 2005.

Oiles Expan

CM Black Puts Finishing Touches on International Business Park Development

CM Black Puts Finishing Touches on International Business Park Development

CM Black is currently completing construction of an 88,527-square-foot, class “A” speculative industrial building at 4541 Enterprise Drive in Concord’s International Business Park. The project, a co-venture between C.M. Black, The Nolim Group, the real estate developer behind the International Business Park, and CESI Land Development Services, was designed by BJW Architecture. Nearly complete, CM Black is currently putting the finishing touches on the building.

See how construction has progressed over the last few months in the photos below. 

The building will fill a void of available manufacturing and warehouse space in the Cabarrus County region, and is being constructed with future expansion capabilities in mind.  Property features include expandable space up to 141,000-square-feet, built to suit office area, 28’ minimum ceiling clearance and the potential for LEED certification. For more information on 4541 Enterprise Drive, click here.


July 2013

4541 Enterprise


March 2013

CM Black Construction, International Business Park


February 2013

CM Black Construction, International Business Park

CM Black Featured in Charlotte Business Journal

CM Black Featured in Charlotte Business Journal

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The Charlotte Business Journal recently showcased C.M. Black in a feature article highlighting some of the company’s milestone projects and ability to survive and thrive, even through volatile economies. Below are some excerpts from the article.

“Emmitt Black believes a combination of things helped his family business survive the recession. The president of C.M. Black says those strategies included a decision years ago to do more on the construction sites… instead of relying on subcontractors…”

“The company has consistently won bids at Wingate University, where it has completed more than a dozen projects. Jerry McGee, Wingate’s president, is impressed with the brothers’ ability to meet deadlines and complete work as promised.”

“The company has built some of Cabarrus County’s largest buildings, including the $20 million former CT Communications Inc. headquarters. The brothers also built the $35 million former First Charter Corp. headquarters that is now home to Electrolux North America…”

combination of things helped his family business survive the recession. The president of C.M. Black says those strategies included a decision years ago to do more on the construction sites… instead of relying on subcontractors…”

“The company has built some of Cabarrus County’s largest buildings, including the $20 million former CT Communications Inc. headquarters. The brothers also built the $35 million former First Charter Corp. headquarters that is now home to Electrolux North America…”


2012 Year in Review

2012 Year in Review

2012 has been a year of growth and development. C.M. Black is proud to have been involved in some of the area’s most notable projects, from new buildings to extensive upgrades and expansions. As we look forward to a new year, take a look at some of the company’s most memorable work of 2012.

Ben-Mynatt-Buick-GMC_Rendering-e1320778972523Ben Mynatt Buick – Completed in May, the project involved extensive interior renovations, as well as an external façade upgrade. Also included were new interior finishes, custom aluminum composite wall panels, a new car canopy, freestanding GM tower accenting the main entry and other enhancements to the overall design…Read more.

Hinds’ Feet Farm (Puddin’s Place) – In July, work was completed on a 5,000-square-foot residence for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. The fully handicapped-accessible mountain-style retreat was built for Hinds’ Feet Farm, an organization dedicated to providing care to brain injury survivors. Dubbed “Puddin’s Place,” the residence enables the organization to provide a home for up to six individuals needing full-time care…Read more.

Wingate Freshman Dorm – Wingate University and C.M. Black partnered again this year for what will be the 12th major project the company has completed for the institution. The latest endeavor is a 60,000-square-foot freshman dormitory with the capacity to house 300 students. C.M. Black began construction on the three-level dorm in March, with completion set for the end of December. Past projects for the University have included the Batte Fine Arts Center, the Hayes Classroom Building and the Levine College of Health Sciences Building, which was finished just last year…Read more.

OILES America Expansion – In August, C.M. Black broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot expansion to the manufacturing facility at the corporate headquarters of OILES America Corporation in Concord. The project includes additional truck docks, increased parking capacity, the incorporation of energy-efficiency technology, renovations to the warehouse and office space and new research and development facilities…Read more.

S&D Coffee – The nation’s largest custom coffee roaster, whose customers include McDonald’s, embarked on a massive expansion to its overall operations, including a complete renovation of its corporate headquarters in Concord. C.M. Black’s work includes extensive demolition, both inside and out. Interior renovations to the main entrance lobby, as well as the addition of a new board room and office space…Read more.

NC Elections Bode Well for Construction Industry

NC Elections Bode Well for Construction Industry

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For the first time since the 1800’s, Republicans are in control of North Carolina’s state government, and according to a recent article published by regional trade association Carolinas AGC (CAGC), this move bodes well for the state’s construction industry.  Why?

For starters, the state’s new governor, Republican Pat McCrory, is a staunch supporter of infrastructure-funding and business. Throughout his campaign, McCrory repeated themes of growing jobs, investing in infrastructure and increasing vocational education, all of which would have direct impact on the construction industry.

In addition to a new infrastructure-friendly governor, various development projects throughout the state have also been approved by voters. For example, Wake County recently voted in favor of $200 million in bonds to expand Wake Technical Community College, add buildings to the school’s bustling Northern Wake campus and to begin construction on a new Research Triangle branch.

C.M. Black has seen a considerable increase in development in the recent months as well. Many corporations in the area are in the midst of new construction projects, including C.M. Black client S&D Coffee, which recently revealed plans for a $48 million expansion expected to create 200 jobs over the next five years.

CM Black to Complete Oiles America Expansion

CM Black to Complete Oiles America Expansion

Oiles America1CM Black Construction recently broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot expansion to the manufacturing facility at the corporate headquarters of Oiles America Corporation in Concord, NC. CM Black was also the general contractor for the 32,000-square-foot expansion to the facility in 2005.

The current project includes additional truck docks, increased parking capacity, the incorporation of energy-efficiency technology, renovations to the warehouse and office space and new research and development facilities.

Estimated to bring 15 to 30 jobs to Concord, the expansion is designed to help the corporation achieve greater flexibility, allowing them to meet global capacity for current and future product lines.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 14. Congressman Larry Kissell, the U.S. representative for North Carolina’s 8th District, spoke at the event, stating that, “this investment will benefit our region immensely.” The expansion is estimated to be completed by fall 2013.

Trade Tip: Avoid Stress When Finding a General Contractor

Finding a general contractor can be a daunting task, especially for those embarking on their first commercial construction project. Attempting to blindly search for a contractor at your time of need can be confusing and stressful. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.

To avoid unnecessary stress, CM Black offers this useful tip: Begin making introductions and networking before you need a contractor. In doing so, you may identify potential candidates, gain industry insight and get a better idea of what to look for in a contractor. Then, when you do need to hire someone, you can easily evaluate candidates based on information you’ve already obtained.

Here are a few tips CM Black gives for finding qualified general contractors:

  • Ask friends and family for referrals
  • Get referrals from business contacts
  • Contact companies who have worked with a contractor in the past, and ask them about their experience
  • Don’t make decisions based on price alone. Ask yourself – Is a candidate able to bid low because they are able to save you money without sacrificing quality, or are they simply less qualified?
  • Look into trade organizations like the Associated General Contractors of America. Trade organizations are a great place to start, as their websites give great insight into contractors in your region. Also check to see if there are any events coming up where you might be able to network with potential candidates.

CM Black and Wingate University Continue Long-Term Relationship

CM Black and Wingate University Continue Long-Term Relationship

CM Black has partnered with Wingate University again, making this the 12th project the company has completed for the institution. The current project is a three-level freshman dormitory scheduled to be completed by December of this year.

The new Wingate Freshman dormitory

Past projects for the University have included the Batte Fine Arts Center,  Cannon Dorms and three residence halls, several renovation projects, the Hayes Classroom Building, and most recently the Levine College of Health Sciences Building, which was just finished last year.  To learn more about CM Black’s partnership with Wingate, check out this short video where Wingate President, Dr. Jerry McGee, discusses the successful relationship and some notable projects.

Advantages of Small Contractors in Unstable Economies

Advantages of Small Contractors in Unstable Economies

ar130598774619434Commercial construction material prices are up 2.5% from this time last year, according to the Producer Price Index report by the U.S. Labor Department. Although residential construction activity is increasing, the commercial construction industry is still seeing declines. According to the AGA, North Carolina lost 5,400 commercial construction jobs between May 2011 and May 2012.

Many of the large general contracting corporations are being forced to reduce overhead, raise rates, and cut jobs. This can result in projects running late, going over budget, and being completed with lower quality labor and materials.

With such a volatile industry, it’s more important than ever to choose the right general contractor. CM Black, for instance, has been able to thrive, even in sluggish economies, as an independent, family-owned business. The flexibility of a small business, combined with 60 years of expertise, has enabled the company to complete projects small and large without being dramatically affected by industry changes.

“CM Black’s structure allows versatility, even in sluggish economies,” says Justin Black, Project Manager at CM Black.  “As a company who has chosen not to expand at a rate we cannot control, we tend to operate more efficiently, and with lower overhead costs, than other contractors providing similar services. Essentially, this has enabled us to maintain workloads in lethargic economies without sacrificing quality. This component has been key in developing long-term relationships with our partners.”

New Residence for Traumatic Brain Injury Non-Profit, Hinds’ Feet Farm

New Residence for Traumatic Brain Injury Non-Profit, Hinds’ Feet Farm

CM Black is completing a project for Hinds’ Feet Farm, an organization dedicated to providing rehabilitation, support, and therapy to adults living with traumatic brain injuries. CM Black has been working with the non-profit to design and build a fully handicapped-accessible residence for individuals needing full time care.

Until now, the organization has run a day program only. With the addition of a full-time residence, however, Hinds’ Feet Farm will be able to extend their services to meet the complex needs of individuals needing round-the-clock care.

The new building, dubbed “Puddin’s Place”, contains several interesting and eco-friendly features. Antique wood from a house circa 1820 was used for unique ceiling beams, baseboards and molding. Playing off the rustic and natural landscape, stone work was used throughout the project. A dedication ceremony for the residence, which resembles a mountain retreat, will be held on July 29th. Photos detailing the entire process from start to finish can be found on Hinds’ Feet Farm’s Facebook album.

Levine College of Health Sciences Pursues Silver LEED Certification

Levine College of Health Sciences Pursues Silver LEED Certification

Levine College of Health SciencesThe Levine College of Health Sciences building at Wingate University, which has received high praise from students and pharmacy experts alike, may receive another accolade this summer. Wingate is expected to apply for Silver LEED certification for the building.

The Levine College of Health Sciences building contains many features complying with LEED’s lofty standards. Nearly 90 percent of the building’s waste was recycled, and 30 percent of its construction was done with recycled materials. The project helped cut down on emissions, as more than 44 percent of materials were extracted and manufactured locally. The building also features a significant amount of FSC-certified wood, and includes advanced indoor air quality through specified HVAC safeguards and tactics.

“We are very proud that this building is under consideration for Silver LEED certification,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black. “That speaks highly of Wingate’s commitment to green building, and shows the energy-saving capability that a building can have.”

The Levine College of Health Sciences building is not the only project CM Black has completed for Wingate. The building is the continuation of a 14-year relationship with the University, which now includes the construction of a 305-student dormitory on Wingate’s campus, expected to be completed this summer.

“We would recommend CM Black for any project,” Wingate President Dr. Jerry McGee recently said. “They can handle any job, no matter how sophisticated it might be.”

Changes Coming to LEED Certification in 2012

Changes Coming to LEED Certification in 2012

USGBCLEED Certification continues to grow in popularity, but commercial construction builders who undertake new projects in the near future will likely face significant changes in how buildings are graded.

The U.S. Green Building Council is reviewing all LEED certification standards, and has developed an initial list of expected changes. Those changes cover interior design, building design and existing buildings, among other changes, and those changes are expected to be finalized by the fall.

LEED certification system changes happen every two years, and that’s why it is important for commercial construction companies to stay ahead of those developments. Justin Black, project manager for CM Black, said the continually evolving LEED certification process is something that every company must monitor.

“Green building continues to grow, and you have to know exactly what is required to meet those standards,” Black said. “As the LEED rating system evolves, builders must stay on top of those changes, and have a true understanding of how each LEED process affects the end result of a sustainable building.”

Green building slowed a little for new buildings in 2011, with only a 3 percent rise from 2010. However, LEED certified construction of existing buildings, known as LEED-EBOM, jumped 18 percent in 2010. Those projects actually accounted for more construction than new LEED projects for the first time in 2011, and that trend may continue in 2012.

Does your company know how much material needs to be recycled, or what kind of materials to use in both new and existing buildings? Changes to the LEED certification system could result in differing scores for buildings. This article details many of the changes currently being discussed, including changes to water efficiency requirements, a new walk-able street credit, and heat island reduction credit.

Perhaps the most important development in LEED certification in 2012 is that building owners must recertify every five years, to make sure they are staying current with energy saving techniques.


“LEED certification is an ever-changing landscape,” Justin Black said. “We look forward to seeing the finalized ratings system for 2012, and beginning the process of implementing that for our future projects.”

10 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Next Commercial Construction Project

10 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Next Commercial Construction Project

construction management1. What are your basics?

Have a plan prepared with the basics of the project. What are your needs? How much can you spend? How much time do you have? It’s important to be realistic in this phase so you are not surprised further down the road. Do your research and come up with three scenarios: “Best Case”, “Worst Case” and “Most Likely Case” for your budgets and timelines.

2. Who will be on your dream team?

Two heads are better than one, three heads better than two, and so on…to a certain point. Having too many people invested in one project can destroy it. Put together a team; decide who will be the point of contact for certain situations and who will be in charge of certain details. Before moving forward with your project, ensure that all stakeholders are in agreement on the details so far.

3. What are your limits?

Schedules and budgets are likely to change, but know where you need to draw the line. At what point will you have to scale back? Be realistic, and determine the absolute latest completion date and the maximum budget. Be flexible in changes up to those limit points, but stick to them.

4. What issues or needs can you expect?

What are the zoning restrictions that might apply to your project? What permits will you need to obtain before moving forward with the plans? What types of insurance will you need for the construction process? Is the construction going to affect your current business practices? This step can be tedious, but it’s better to know prior to construction if there will be any issues.

5. Who will be your general contractor?

In the past, it has been generally suggested that plans and budgets be sent to multiple contractors for bidding. However, in today’s environment, clients and their projects can greatly benefit by selecting a contractor at the front-end of a project. The right contractor can provide guidance and assistance in the development of concepts and budgets.  Personality matters. Make sure the contractor you hire is someone you feel comfortable with, trust, and communicate well with. A good working relationship can make a world of difference.

6. What are your expectations?

Sit down with your contractor, and make it known what your preferences are in everything from method of contact to how you expect certain situations to be handled. Find out what ancillary services your contractor offers. Can they obtain permits for you or do you need to handle them? How do they perform in the warranty period?  A contractor who is a able to provide multiple services can reduce the burdens of the owner.

7. What are your priorities?

Maybe you were set on having a 500 gallon aquarium in the lobby, but if it would mean cutting corners on essentials, it’s time to reprioritize. Make a list of absolute musts: starting with the things you literally cannot go without (permits, licenses, a floor…).  If you have to start making budget cuts, you’ll know what you can afford to lose and what you cannot.

8. How can you best use your resources?

You have a dream team and your perfect contractor, so take advantage of them. Does your contractor have recommendations for businesses to use in securing materials, licenses, etc.? Get their honest opinions on your plans and schedules. They have probably completed similar projects, and will be able to aid in determining certain items that may have longer lead or delivery times, which can impact the schedule.

9. What impact is your project going to have?

What impact could your project have on the local community? Once completed, how will the business affect the local community, economy, other businesses, etc.? You’ll want to keep these things in mind so you are well-prepared if the issues need to be addressed.

10. Have you covered all your bases?

It’s never too early to develop a good reputation. Use your research findings to determine if there will be people unhappy about your project. Address the issues head on, and be proactive. Reach out to the local media or city council and explain how your project will have a positive effect on the community. It might be useful to hire a PR professional for guidance in handling these issues.

Development Taking Off in Charlotte Region

Development Taking Off in Charlotte Region

Charlotte_NC_Skyline.33685659Recent statistics point to a 3 percent growth in construction in the Charlotte metro area from the beginning of 2011 to 2012, and many professionals believe that trend will continue. The Charlotte Observer reported that commercial construction is “improving,” and that the region’s outlook should continue to grow.

Developer Johnny Harris told the Observer that “things are getting better” and noted the rising number of building permits for non-residential construction in the past few months. One of the fastest growing major populations in the last 10 years, the Charlotte region continues to see a migration of newcomers each year.

Things are also picking up in Cabarrus County. Building permits have increased throughout the county, and new projects continue to begin throughout the area. New construction in Cabarrus County is an appealing alternative, due to the lack of available buildings in the county.

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett says he welcomes all new construction, and that the county is working hard to attract more commercial construction. “The construction of places like Carolina Courts downtown has sparked interest from investors and businesses wanting to capitalize on the large number of visitors that will be coming to campus clinics and league tournaments”. Additions to places like Wingate University are also encouraging tourism and growth.

Other economic indicators locally and nationally point to more construction.
Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 2008, and the stock market has hit its highest point since that time. Mayor Padgett explains that development must continue for the economy to maintain that course. “We have seen an increase in plan submittal and permitting for commercial development. Interest in industrial property has also increased in the past few months”.
The mayor also emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between costs and standards. Maintaining high quality development is a key to ensuring continued interest and growth.

Video: College of Health Sciences Building Is Star Attraction

The Levine College of Health Sciences Building opened in August, and the 69,000 square foot building is already earning rave reviews.

The building is the centerpiece to the expanding School of Pharmacy at Wingate University, and was completed on time, and under budget.

The building includes three 90-seat lecture halls, two 50-seat classrooms, clinical simulations labs, decision simulation labs, a physical assessment lab, a pharmacy practice lab, an IV admixture lab, a fitness center, food service, conference rooms, and a biomedical science library and drug information center.

The grand opening of the building was covered by local news organizations including the Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte Observer and WBTV.

Dr. Robert Supernaw, the dean of the School of Pharmacy at Wingate, said the building will establish Wingate as a leading institution for pharmacy students, and will make a significant impact for the university. Dr. Supernaw and Dr. Jerry McGree, the president of the university, recently talked about the building and its impact in the video above.

CM Black Initiates Several Projects in Charlotte region

CM Black Initiates Several Projects in Charlotte region

Ben Mynatt Buick GMC_RenderingCM Black Construction Company has been busy with other major projects throughout the Charlotte region in addition to the Levine College of Health Sciences project.

CM Black has begun a new project for the Ben Mynatt Buick GMC dealership in Concord. This project will include an interior renovation as well as an external façade upgrade. The building will feature all new interior finishes, and the exterior upgrade will house custom aluminum composite wall panels to accent and enhance the look of the dealership. To see a rendering of the building, click here.

The retrofit will also feature the construction of a new car canopy, and will also showcase a freestanding GM tower accenting the front and main entry. The project will also include new doors at the service bay and other enhancements for the dealership.

“We’re excited to begin this project and help Ben Mynatt upgrade their facilities to serve their customers,” said CM Black Project Manager Justin Black.

CM Black has several other projects it is currently working on. CM Black has also begun work on an upgrade to the facilities at Atlas Signs in Concord. The project includes almost 10,000 square feet of new interior office space inside the existing facility, and a new canopy to the front entrance. It is expected to be completed by mid-January.

CM Black has also completed grading work at the 4541 Enterprise Drive facility in the International Business Park in Concord. The speculative building has the option to expand to more than 140,000 square feet. To view the plan, facility and surrounding land, click here.

CM Black also continues work on the new facility at Hinds Feet Farm in Huntersville, NC. The 7,100 square foot facility is a non-ambulatory care facility for patients who have sustained a brain injury and will house six full-time patients including a full staff. The project, located off N.C. 73 in Huntersville, is at the existing Hinds Feet Farm facilities.

The single story structure will be built using conventional wood framing and a combination of stone veneer and poplar bark shingles, and is expected to be completed by the spring.  The roof will consist of a pitched pre-formed metal roof with dormers, similar to a residential set up.  For more information on Hinds Feet Farm, please visit

“We are pleased to be working on so many different projects and helping businesses in our region,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black. “We look forward to finishing these projects to our customers’ satisfaction in the coming months.”

Economic Outlook More Promising in Commercial Construction Industry

Economic Outlook More Promising in Commercial Construction Industry

high-rise-commercial-construction-office-buildingCommercial construction has been slow to recover from the Great Recession, but there are more signs pointing to a turnaround now than at any time since that economic decline began.

Nationally, construction companies added more than 26,000 jobs between August and September, and the unemployment rate in the industry has dropped four points in the past year.

“These numbers give us a taste for how investing in construction activity can really boost overall employment figures,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America. “However, the real question is whether these numbers are an anomaly or the start of a positive trend.”

Locally, the news was also encouraging. North Carolina added 2,800 construction jobs in those two months. McGraw-Hill also estimates North Carolina’s 2011 contracts at $11.2 billion, a seven percent increase from 2010.

“We have been waiting for the construction industry to stabilize for a while, but it is a positive sign to see these encouraging numbers,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black. “We are hoping this is a sign of things to come.”

Green Building Outlook

Green Building Outlook

lfhcredits2Some trends in construction don’t have staying power, but it appears green building will continue to be a big trend well into the next decade and beyond.

Bank of America announced earlier this month that 20 percent of its office space will be LEED certified by 2015, and New York, Chicago and Washington DC all expect to have more than 650 LEED-certified buildings constructed in the coming years. There is already more than 1 billion square feet of LEED-certified projects built throughout the world, and that number continues to grow.

Locally, two data centers to be constructed by Time Warner Cable will also be LEED-certified. Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Family Dollar have also been recognized for their green building efforts.

CM Black Construction Company understands the value of green building and its benefits to the environment, and continues its pledge to utilize LEED-certified buildings whenever feasible.

“We have already had extensive experience with LEED-certified projects, including the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University and the Board of Elections building in Cabarrus County,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “Our staff is committed to building sustainable buildings that include recycled materials and minimal waste as much as possible, and we look forward to keeping up that effort.”

The Levine College of Health Sciences building illustrates that. That building recycled nearly 90 percent of its waste, and 30 percent of its construction was done with recycled materials.

The project also cut down on emissions because more than 44 percent of materials were extracted and manufactured locally. The project also had more than 83 percent of its wood FSC-certified, and also substantially enhanced its indoor air quality through specified HVAC safeguards and tactics.

All of those techniques are expected to help the Levine College of Health Sciences building earn a silver LEED certification, and continue CM Black’s quest for green building.

“We carefully examined every step of the building process for the Levine College of Health Sciences building to ensure we were adhering to the green building standards to maintain LEED certification,” CM Black LEED AP Project Manager Justin Black said. “This building is not only a marvel to look at, but an environmentally friendly structure that will be a big benefit in the years to come.”

CM Black adds Emilee Black Stamper as Project Manager

CM Black Construction Company continues its growth with the addition of Emilee Stamper as a Project Manager. Emilee has a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from UNC Charlotte, and also holds a General Contractor’s Building License. Emilee is also continuing CM Black’s focus on Green Building, and recently earned her Green Associate Accreditation, the first pre-requisite for the LEED AP Accreditation.

“I’m ready to help our clients develop their green building ideas and continue that trend,” Emilee said. “I’ve always seen the construction business up close all my life and I am looking forward to this challenge,”

Emilee is the daughter of CM Black President Emmitt Black, continuing the family business into its third generation along with cousin Justin Black, who is also a Project Manager.

“We are happy to have Emilee join our team,” said CM Black Vice President Clinton Black. “We are committed to constructing sustainable and environmentally-friendly buildings in the future, and Emilee possesses the knowledge to help us. We look forward to working with Emilee and continuing on LEED certified projects.”

CM Black to Finish Two Cabarrus Projects, Begin Work on Hinds Feet Farm

CM Black to Finish Two Cabarrus Projects, Begin Work on Hinds Feet Farm

CC BOE Office BuildingCM Black Construction Company is wrapping up two other projects in Cabarrus County.

CM Black completed a new project at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center at the end of August. The 10,000 square foot facility replaces a mobile unit and also houses the fair’s management offices.

Construction of the building was approved by the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners in March. CM Black completed the structure on time, an important achievement since the annual Cabarrus County Fair begins September , which attracts thousands of visitors.

“We are happy to construct this building for the county,” CM Black Vice President Clinton Black said. “We knew how important it was to have the building completed before the fair opened, and we made sure to meet our deadlines while maintaining the quality that our customers expect.”

CM Black is also scheduled to complete the Board of Elections building in the coming weeks. That 10,000 square foot structure has been under construction since March, and is part of Cabarrus County’s initiative for sustainable buildings. Deputy County Manager Mike Downs discussed the building and working with CM Black in this video.

“The Board of Elections Building is a CM at-risk project that shows our capability as a builder,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We are pleased to meet our required timeframe for this structure and show how we can successfully approach CM at-risk projects.”

CM Black is also expected to break ground in the coming weeks for a new facility at Hinds Feet Farm in Huntersville, NC. The 7,100 square foot facility is a non-ambulatory care facility for patients who have sustained a brain injury and will house six full-time patients including a full staff. The project, located off N.C. 73 in Huntersville, is at the existing Hinds Feet Farm facilities.

The single story structure will be built using conventional wood framing and a combination of stone veneer and poplar bark shingles, and is expected to be completed by the spring. The roof will consist of a pitched pre-formed metal roof with dormers, similar to a residential set up. CM Black previously constructed the arts and crafts facility at Hinds Feet Farm.

“We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with Hinds Feet Farm,” CM Black Vice President Clinton Black said. “We look forward to beginning this project and working with the people of Hinds Feet Farm again.” For more information on Hinds Feet Farm , please visit

Wingate’s Levine College of Health Sciences Building Opens to Rave Reviews

The Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University started in February 2010 as a vision, to create one of the top pharmacy school buildings in the nation.

Now, that vision is a reality, as the 69,000 square foot building is opening for students this fall amid rave reviews for the design and construction of the structure.

“Dr. Craig Boyer told me he has personally been in 110 of the 115 pharmacy schools in America, and this building is the finest he has ever seen,” Wingate University President Jerry McGee said at the ribbon cutting for the facility earlier this month. “I agree with Dr. Boyer.”

Philanthropist Leon Levine, who provided much of the funding for the Wingate building and has funded many other buildings in the Charlotte metropolitan area, was also pleased with the structure named after him.

“This is a beautiful building and we should all be proud of it,” he said at the ceremony. “I think what I am happiest about is that this building was completed on time and (under) budget. Some of our buildings haven’t been able to say that.”

The three-story building is comprised of a structural steel frame, metal stud exterior walls, and brick veneer that is accented with pre-cast bands. Its roof is a standing seam metal roof, and the inside includes two laboratories, complete with laboratory casework.

“We could not be more pleased with the Levine College of Health Sciences building,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black. “It is one of the finest buildings we have constructed in our 60-year history. It is a credit to everyone involved in the project, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship with Wingate University with this project.”

The building is targeted to receive Silver LEED certification. The building will house the School of Pharmacy and Physicians Assistant at Wingate, and is one of the landmark achievements in CM Black’s 60-year history.

“As we move into this LEED-certified masterpiece, this has been more of a partnership than any project I can remember engaging in,” said McGee.

The facility is the seventh building constructed at Wingate by CM Black. It is the largest structure on the Wingate campus, and only the second LEED certified building in Union County. It also is designed to meet the highest standards in teaching with three 90-seat lecture halls, two 50-seat classrooms, clinical simulations labs, decision simulation labs, a physical assessment lab, a pharmacy practice lab, an iv admixture lab, a fitness center, food service, conference rooms, and a biomedical science library and drug information center.

“We can be proud of this structure,” said Thomas Williams, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Wingate. “If this building is any indication, Wingate has the prescription for a bright future.”

Why Sustainable Buildings are the Future

Cabarrus County Deputy Manager Mike Downs discusses why his county is utilizing sustainable buildings, and how CM Black helped them in that process in the construction of the Board of Elections building in downtown Concord, which was completed in August 2011. That project was completed on time and under budget, and gave the city the first of many expected sustainable buildings for the future.

To learn more about CM Black’s efforts in LEED certified construction, please click here.

Green Building Continues to Make Impact in 2011

McGraw Hill projects a 16 percent increase in commercial construction in 2011, and green building is also expected to continue to surge.

Kyle Bilafer, the Director of General Services for Cabarrus County, said his county is expecting to do more green building, and expects that trend to continue elsewhere.

“I think that is the way that all government is going to go,” he said. “Charlotte-Mecklenburg is already building LEED certified buildings, and if you look at what the state is mandating, that’s the direction to expect.”

North Carolina began N.C. Project Green in 1998, a program designed to encourage green building throughout the state government. The state has begun sustainable building policies, and those policies are now being implemented at the local level.

Sustainable buildings are a key part of Cabarrus County’s construction philosophy. According to Mike Downs, deputy county manager for Cabarrus County, that philosophy is geared toward keeping Cabarrus County ahead of the curve in constructing sustainable buildings.

“We want to be a leader in that regard,” he said. “If you want to push the movement toward sustainable buildings, you have to participate in the movement. We have the power to be the leader, but we also want to help to encourage the private sector to do the same.”

Bilafer said the county has several other reasons for pursuing green building as well.

“I would say our main reasons are to have less impact on the environment, better health effects on the people who will use the building, the cost savings involved, and having less of a carbon footprint,” he said.

Bilafer said the shift to green building can have an immediate impact on the environment, and said the cost benefits can make a big difference later.

“You’ll realize a lot of those savings later after the project has been completed,” he said. “But we’re committed to a sustainability effort from here on.”

Those sustainability efforts include the Cabarrus County Board of Elections building, that CM Black is expected to build this year. Justin Black, LEED AP for CM Black, said there will be many green initiatives with the project to encourage a sustainable approach to design.

The project will have several key tactics for sustainability. The project will:

  • Track the percentage of waste to be recycled and diverted from landfills.
  • Track Materials for Regional Priority, reducing fuel and trucking costs.
  • Utilize Low Volatile Organic Compound products, to reduce exposure for occupants.
  • Incorporate higher-efficiency Roof Top Units in its HVAC system and MERV 8 filters to virtually eliminate dust or other particles
  • Utilize open space and day lighting
  • Include Solar Tubes for natural sunlight, and use occupancy sensors for other lighting
  • Feature FSC Certified Wood and other features inside to promote green philosophies.

Implementing those tactics should produce major results. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green buildings can save up to 50 % on energy usage, 40% of water usage, and 50% or more of waste.

Bilafer said that what can be done depends on the building that is being constructed, but he said he expects green building to continue for years to come.

“You never have apples to apples comparison with buildings,” he said. “Some buildings have more limitations on what kind of green building practices you can implement. But the biggest thing for us is we want to maintain a building philosophy that prevents urban sprawl while having the least amount of impact on the environment and our resources.”

CM Black Finishing College of Health Sciences Building, Other Projects

CM Black isn’t just focusing on green building with the Board of Election building in Cabarrus County however. The construction company continues work on the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University.

That building is targeted to receive Silver LEED certification and is also on schedule and under budget. Construction began on that building in February 2010, and the building is expected to be completed later this spring. It will open for students for the fall semester in August.

That building includes more than 69,000 square feet of space and will also house the School of Pharmacy at Wingate. The project, already considered one of the top health sciences buildings in the region, has been completed on schedule by CM Black and within budget.

“We are very proud of the Levine College of Health Sciences building and we look forward to its completion,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Wingate University and are very pleased with the resulting building.”

The Cabarrus County Commissioners approved the county’s Board of Elections building construction in March. CM Black will renovate the 10,000 square foot structure. Work on the building is scheduled to begin this month, and it is scheduled to be completed this summer.

“We’re pleased to collaborate with Cabarrus County on the building, and make it both more functional and also more environmentally friendly,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We have always had a strong relationship with the county, and are pleased to continue that relationship with this project.”

Higher Education Projects Continue Growth Statewide

While many colleges and universities are facing budget difficulties, construction continues to surge.

UNC-Asheville is renovating five dormitories and constructing a new building. The university is also building a new track, health and wellness center, and renovating two classroom buildings.

UNC Charlotte is also in the midst of major construction projects. The university is building new recreational fields off of John Kirk Drive, a new motor sports building, new residence halls (depending on enrollment growth) and more parking options on campus. The school will also have a groundbreaking for its new football stadium in April. Queens University of Charlotte has also been part of the construction boom. The university has begun a $100 million capital improvement campaign, including construction on a new science and health building later this year, and a $30 million wellness center. In addition, Pfeiffer University has added a new campus in the Research Triangle Park, and Davidson College opened a new residence hall this year.

Wingate University will open its Levine College of Health Sciences building later this year, and has already seen record freshman enrollment for the current year. Wingate University has a relationship with CM Black that spans more than a decade, and the construction company has built at least seven projects on campus.

“We understand that colleges and universities are undergoing constant change, and need state-of-the-art facilities to keep up with the rising student population and public demand for excellence,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “This growth isn’t just a trend that will fizzle, it’s going to be a constant for the next decade or longer. We want to help colleges and universities keep pace with that growth.”

CM Black featured in DDC Magazine, Charlotte Business Journal

CM Black’s work at Wingate University has been featured in two prominent publications.

The DDC Journal did a feature on the Levine College of Health Sciences building scheduled to be completed in the spring (see page 24-25 of the issue to see more). The Charlotte Business Journal and Charlotte Observer did a story about the completion of the university’s most recent residence hall, which was completed in December and finished 20 percent faster than buildings of similar dimensions.

CM Black was also recently featured in an article in the Concord Independent-Tribune about the company’s 60th anniversary, and its Albemarle City Hall upfit and renovation was also cited by the North Carolina Main Street Center as the Best Public Building Improvement in 2010.

That news and other information are also available on CM Black’s Facebook Page. That page has seen significant upgrades, allowing visitors more opportunities to see the company’s projects and keep updated on news. To learn more,

New Video Details the History, Capabilities of CM Black

CM Black has uploaded a new video to its web site that details the company’s history and capabilities while offering testimonials from past clients.

The video includes footage from the George Batte Fine Arts Center at Wingate and the renovation of the Albemarle City Hall, as well as photos and details of many other CM Black projects. To view the four-minute video, visit the company’s web site at

The video, which is also available on YouTube, is the latest way that CM Black is reaching out to potential prospects through online channels. CM Black also recently began a Facebook page with company updates, and also added an archive of past CM Black articles and news on its web site.

“We understand the importance of giving people several different ways to learn about our company,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We still have brochures and other materials, but the video and Facebook page are new ways that we can reach out and help potential customers learn about us. We are truly excited to have those new capabilities available, and look forward to sharing them.”

CM Black Projects Moving Toward Completion

CM Black Construction Company is wrapping up a busy 2010, completing two buildings and maintaining progress on a third project.

CM Black is expected to complete a new residence hall at Wingate University December 15th. That residence hall will be a three-story facility with more than 26,000 square feet. It will house 96 students once it is completed, and will be the third such residence hall constructed by CM Black on campus. CM Black previously constructed the Beam and Cannon residence halls at Wingate.

The completion of that building while staying on schedule has been a point of pride for CM Black. The project will be completed 20 percent faster than typical residence halls of similar dimensions, after Wingate University needed the facility to meet an unprecedented student population at the school. Wingate had its largest freshman class ever in the fall of 2010, and needed the building constructed in less than six months.

CM Black has finished the renovation for Southern Select Community Credit Union. That building, which is located off N.C. 3 in Cabarrus County, was completed November 30th.

CM Black’s biggest current project, the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University, is also on schedule and under budget. Construction began on that building in February, and it is expected to be completed by the spring of 2011. That building includes more than 69,000 square feet of space and will also house the School of Pharmacy at Wingate.

“We are pleased that we have been able to continue our reputation as a builder who gets projects done on time,” Emmitt Black said. “That’s a credit to everyone involved in our projects, and it shows the commitment and dedication that our staff has to delivering high quality work even with a challenging schedule.”

CM Black Stable Despite Sluggish Economy, Expecting Rebound in 2011

Commercial construction in the Charlotte region sputtered in 2010, but CM Black officials are optimistic for a turnaround in the industry in 2011.

Nationwide, commercial construction in September fell 21 percent from the year before. Construction employment in North Carolina in September totaled 170,400, a decrease of 6.6% from September 2009 and a decrease of 34% from the state’s peak in June 2007. In the Charlotte metropolitan area, that number has dropped 17 percent.

Those numbers may paint a difficult picture, but there may be room for optimism soon. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that construction is expected to increase nationally in 2011, and that growth is expected to be even bigger locally.

A recent article in the Charlotte Business Journal stated that Business Facilities magazine ranks Charlotte No. 5 among large metropolitan areas for economic growth potential and No. 5 among most-wired cities nationwide. North Carolina ranks No. 4 for economic growth potential, fifth in work-force training and sixth in business climate. That could mean the Charlotte area is ripe for a rebound, and CM Black officials are ready to get started.

CM Black has weathered the turbulent economy well, and remains strong. CM Black President Emmitt Black credits his company’s long-standing history and relationships with others as primary reasons for CM Black’s resiliency.

“We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in the economy since we have been around for 60 years,” he said. “But we know what needs to be done in difficult times. And, we know how to react quickly when things rebound quickly. Our customers have found our experience to be quite valuable in times like these.”

CM Black has many relationships that have lasted more than a decade, and does not need to take drastic measures just for the sake of getting work. Emmitt Black said his company will continue to maintain its reputation as a fair, well-respected corporation.

“You can’t undercut people, that’s just bad for business,” he said. “We know what it takes to get a job done right, and we won’t stray from that. We want to make sure everyone is satisfied with the final product, and that it meets our high standards.”

CM At-Risk Projects Becoming Preferred Choice for Universities, Governments

CM at-risk projects, one of the most popular construction choices in North Carolina in the past decade, are done through a general contractor who guarantees the cost of a project and provides valuable services to the owner. Those services include preparation and coordination of bid packages, scheduling, cost control, evaluation, pre-construction services and construction administration.

Those projects, first instituted in North Carolina in 2001, create a guaranteed maximum price. In CM at-risk projects, the contractor must work in a fiduciary relationship with the owner, and always act in the best interest of the owner. The Construction Manager at-risk must develop a master schedule, make recommendations, and advise on constructibility issues. The company must also pre-qualify and evaluate subcontractors.

CM Black is currently working on a CM at-risk Project, building a new Board of Elections building in Cabarrus. CM Black President Emmitt Black said his company looks forward to opportunities for more CM at-risk projects in the future.

“We are always looking for new opportunities with those kinds of projects,” he said. “Our knowledge of the local market helps us, as well as our knowledge of subcontractors and their capabilities. We understand that cost is one of the driving factors behind a CM at-risk project, and we do everything we can to ensure the project doesn’t sacrifice quality while staying within those parameters.”

The demand for CM at-risk projects is growing, and is expected to remain high. A study was completed by the University of North Carolina in 2009 after the university system engaged 94 CM at-risk projects within a 10-year period. That study examined those projects, which had a total value of almost $3.3 billion dollars, and said CM at-risk projects brought added value, because of features including:

• Having the contractor at the table during the design process to validate cost estimates, suggest modification to design details that simplify & speed construction, and to establish common expectations with regard to project schedule.
• Establishing a team approach to the project planning & execution ameliorates the adversarial relationship often found between owner, designer & contractor.
• Selecting the Construction Manager at Risk with a qualifications-based selection process.
• Assuring the best possible quality in the finished product.
• Achieving significantly higher minority participation over other methods construction project delivery.
N.C. State and East Carolina have also done CM at-risk projects, and so have local governments including Mint Hill, Charlotte and Cabarrus County. Fayetteville State University is also expected to do a CM at-risk project in 2011, and other universities and local governments are also expected to continue the trend into the next decade.

“We’ve really seen a surge in the number of CM at-risk jobs in the Charlotte region, particularly with local governments,” Emmitt Black said. “We look forward to working with Cabarrus County on our current project, and we look forward to working with other municipalities in the future.”

LEED Certification Growth Continues Leading Up to Greenbuild

The annual Greenbuild conference will be in Chicago in November, and the trend for green building continues to grow. Green building now accounts for almost one-third of all new construction in the U.S. That’s a staggering increase, since it only accounted for two percent of new construction just five years ago. LEED certification guidelines were only established a decade ago, but builders, and the general public, have learned about the guidelines and rating system quickly.

“The word LEED meant nothing 10 odd years ago,” Michele Russo, director of green research for McGraw-Hill Construction told NPR. “Now, that is literally like Kleenex is to tissues. When you think of a LEED building you know it is a green building.”

LEED certified buildings are designed to help the environment, but there may be other benefits as well. A recent Michigan State University revealed that workers in green buildings had fewer absences due to asthma, allergies and illness, and showed higher productivity.

Many construction experts questioned the viability of green building when the U.S. Green Building Council was formed, believing that it creates substantial additional cost opposed to a typical project. But the University of Michigan announced recently that its research indicated that on a typical $100 million project, LEED certification will add about 2 percent to the cost. That cost savings can be easily recouped through energy savings just over a few years of the building’s life.

Michigan isn’t the only college campus turning to LEED certification. Iowa State and Louisville have already built LEED certified facilities and Wingate University is also constructing a College of Health Sciences Building that is expected to be LEED certified when it opens in 2011.

CM Black Construction Company is overseeing that project, and has maintained more than 90 percent of recycled construction waste during construction.

“When you are building a LEED certified project, you have to be meticulous with all your materials,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black. “We are proud of how well we have done in that regard, and we are determined to maintain that kind of success with this and other future LEED certified projects we will handle.”

New Software Helps CM Black Maintain Grading Advantage

CM Black Construction Company has officially upgraded its grading services through the implementation of the AGTEK software system.

The AGTEK estimating program allows CM Black to be more competitive in its pricing. CM Black officials have undergone extensive training for the software, and now have the capability to create 3D models of landscapes to determine the best course of action.

“We wanted to maintain our advantage with our grading capabilities and AGTEK will help us do that,” said CM Black President Emmitt Black.

The program allows CM Black to create haul plans, monitor production and document for payment; or use Earthwork 3D output with GPS systems to verify land topography, set grades and machine control. The software also helps optimize earthmoving jobs and resolve issues that may arise between developers and contractors.

The program includes not only 3D views, but also creates cut/fill detail maps that can settle quantity discrepancies and streamline grading operations. That can be an essential tool in the planning, since it gives a clear view of any issues that may arise from the land surrounding the project.

“We are really excited to start implementing this program into our construction capabilities,” said project manager Justin Black. “This will give us a vital tool moving forward.”

CM Black Builds Residence Hall at Wingate, Other Projects

CM Black has begun construction on a new residence hall at Wingate University, continuing a relationship with the school that spans more than a decade

The new residence hall, scheduled to be completed by December, will be a three-story facility with more than 26,000 square feet. It will house 96 students once it is completed, and will be the third such residence hall constructed by CM Black on campus. CM Black previously constructed the Beam and Cannon residence halls.

The construction of the new residence hall has been necessitated by the largest freshman class in Wingate’s 114-year history. More than 600 students entered the university in August, and those students will be housed in temporary housing until the new residence hall is complete.

CM Black began the project in June, and will have the residence hall completed within six months.

“We are thrilled to once again work with Wingate as they continue to grow in the coming years,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We look forward to working with them on this project and maintaining the high standards of the university.”

CM Black also has other projects in the Cabarrus/Charlotte Metro area. The construction company continues to work on the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate, which includes more than 69,000 square feet. That building, which will also house the School of Pharmacy, recently had its topping out and is scheduled to be completed by June.

CM Black also recently began an upfit for Southern Select Community Credit Union. That building, which is located off N.C. 3 in Cabarrus County, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Three keys to meeting deadlines in commercial construction

Commercial construction involves projects that can sometimes take a year or longer to complete. Those kinds of multimillion dollar projects are often pushed back because of unexpected delays and other glitches that can hold up the building process.

Those kinds of delays can cost business owners, construction companies, and many others in the project, thousands of dollars. CM Black Construction Company has been in the construction business for 60 years, and the Concord construction firm has built a reputation for finishing projects on time.

Recent construction and renovation of the Albemarle City Hall and many projects at Wingate University all finished on time, but CM Black officials said there is no secret formula for getting work done on schedule. Each project is different, especially whether the project has been negotiated or competitively bid. Those variances each create their own set of special challenges, but CM Black President Emmitt Black said three primary philosophies have helped keep the company’s projects on track no matter how they are started.

1. Planning, planning, planning

Every CM Black project is meticulously planned down through every detail.

“Before the project even starts I am looking six months down the road,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “You have to know where the potential trouble can be.”

CM Black studies all blueprints, and carefully examines all potential trouble spots well before getting started. That trouble can seem to be in the smallest of details, from the light levels in a room to where fixtures will be placed, but if changes are made later in the process, they are more likely to create delays in the finish date.

2. Communicate thoroughly with everyone involved in the project.

CM Black views a construction project as a collaboration between builder, engineer, architect and owner. Emmitt Black said subcontractors must also be kept up to speed on everything involved with the project, to limit the number of change orders that need to be implemented.

“We try to work out any potential problems with the architects even before we get started,” Emmitt Black said.

Once construction has started, Emmitt Black said his company communicates frequently with the owner of the facility and continuously updates them on progress. Getting so many people involved early in a project creates a sense of ownership, and once they fully understand the parameters of a project, the process will go much smoother and eliminate the need for change orders.

3. Do things right.

Mistakes are easy to make on any project, but CM Black’s philosophy is to always check and doublecheck every plan thoroughly before proceeding.

“We try to be prepared for anything, and by being meticulous in what we do, we can make any needed fixes earlier in the process,” Emmitt Black said.

Once a project is started, CM Black follows through with thorough review of each phase of the construction process. Those reviews also help keep construction projects on track, and keep customers satisfied.

“We understand the value of a deadline,” Emmitt Black said. “We want to make sure that we keep things moving and on schedule.”

Understanding Effective Utilization of Materials Key Part of LEED Certification Process

The commercial construction industry evolves each year, with new tactics and techniques to help keep costs in line and, more recently, to help the environment. To that end, LEED certification continues to grow in construction, with as many as 20 percent of construction projects expected to be LEED certified by 2013.

The materials used in LEED certification continue to evolve. Builders receive credit for using wood that is tracked and managed by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which helps keeps forests sustainable worldwide. Other materials can also be key factors in gaining LEED certification as they allow for innovation points to be earned.

Recycling materials and the use of such environmentally friendly materials can create as many as 13 points in the LEED Certification grading scale, under the Materials and Resources credit. Those credits can come in a variety of ways, including the use of salvaged or refurbished materials. Builders can also gain a point by using at least 10 percent of its materials from a regional source, within 500 miles of a building site. Another point can be earned by having at least half of the wood for a project managed by the FSC.

All of those scenarios are just part of the LEED certification system, but coordinating that kind of project can be a challenge. Justin Black, LEED AP for CM Black, said that the LEED Certification process necessitates a thorough understanding of knowing where to find the best materials and how to incorporate that while maintaining a LEED certification strategy.

“There is a balance that you have to understand,” he said. “Sometimes, the distance to obtain the best materials can make it a challenge to maintain your optimal green building strategy.”

Black said the company is always investigating the latest LEED certification trends, as well as new ideas in the commercial construction marketplace. He said LEED certified projects are here to stay, and CM Black is ready for the changes that come as part of the process.

“We understand the challenges that companies can face when they investigate the green building option,” he said. “We always try to work with them to help determine the best course of action from the beginning. The more you know from the start, the more success you’ll have in meeting your goals.”

Signs Point to Commercial Construction Turnaround

Commercial construction has been one of the hardest hit industries during the ‘Great Recession,” but there are some indicators that show the business is starting to return.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in June that major life insurers – which often create commercial construction loans – are starting to ease terms and lower interest rates for commercial real estate loan portfolios. Some architects are starting to see a turnaround as well.

Thomas Fridstein, the head of global architecture for AECOM, is one believer.

“We are seeing the private sector picking up,” Fridstein told CNN last month. “I feel like we’ve been through the worst, we’ve sort of hit the trough of the recession and things are on the upturn. We’ve had some major commercial clients contacting us about projects potentially starting up again, so that’s a very positive sign.”

Some states have seen a decrease in unemployment in the construction industry, including Maryland, where the backlog for commercial construction projects has increased 20 percent this year. Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu told the Baltimore Business Journal that he sees that increase as “a sign that non-residential construction’s rebound is spreading beyond government-financed projects and is increasingly private-sector motivated.”

That’s an encouraging sign for an industry that saw a 16 percent decline in 2009 and expected to see another 12 percent slide in 2010 by the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel. But that forecast may be revised thanks to the current indicators, which could begin the road to recovery.

“It hasn’t been easy in the past two years, but we are hopeful that this really is the start of the turnaround,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We’re looking forward to serving more customers.”

Recycled Materials Making Big Impact

As green building grows, many construction companies are turning toward an increase in recycled materials.

Those materials can help reduce impacts on the environment associated with the extraction of raw materials and resources involved with making new products, and also help projects to earn their LEED certification. New construction that has at least 50 percent recycled waste diverted from landfills earns one LEED certification point, and new construction with 75 percent recycled materials earns two points.

Projects from across the country are using those recycled waste materials to keep costs down and make an impact. Here are some recently completed structures and their recycled waste figures:

•Orchard Garden Hotel San Francisco, 77 percent.
•Office Depot, Austin TX, 80 percent
•Nationals Park, Washington DC, 83 percent.
•Proximity Hotel, Greensboro NC, 87 percent
Maintaining such a high percentage of recycled waste can be demanding, but construction companies such as CM Black have used meticulous tracking methods to ensure an optimal rate. CM Black is currently constructing the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University, and that building has an 89 percent rate of diverted waste to date.

CM Black uses a certified waste report for the project, which tracks all materials in the project and how they are currently being used. CM Black officials receive regular reports, and can then determine how efficiently materials are being used.

“We want to know exactly where everything is going and how it is being used,” said Justin Black, LEEP AP for CM Black. “This system allows us to do that.”

That kind of meticulous following is also useful to earn LEED certification points. The U.S. Green Building Council recommends that builders use several techniques to reach such a high standard, and CM Black uses many of them. CM Black has designated haulers for the materials, and has implemented a thorough construction waste management plan.

“There has always been a market for recycled materials and waste management,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “You always want to make sure your resources are being utilized, and LEED certification gives companies even more incentives to recycle.”

Wingate’s Levine College of Health Sciences Building Tops Out

CM Black celebrated the topping out of its latest project at Wingate University on June 22, with students, faculty and college administrators joining in the celebration for the Levine College of Health Sciences Building.

The 69,000-square-foot building is scheduled to be completed by June 2011, and will house the School of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant Studies Program. CM Black and Wingate officials celebrated the “topping out,” signifying that the structural steel frame of the building is now complete.

The celebration included presentations and a tour of the building. The new building is located on Main Street in Wingate on the University’s main campus. It will significantly expand the Wingate University School of Pharmacy, physician assistant studies program and make room for other needed programs in the health sciences field.

“We now have a magnificent building in the making,” said Wingate University President Dr. Jerry McGee, thanking donors and friends who made this project possible.

The June 22 event was capped off by the installation of the final structural beam which was signed by donors, school officials and School of Pharmacy students, who will utilize the building upon its completion in 2011. The steel beam will remain visible even after the completion of the project, located in the building’s attic level.

“We wanted to come up with a way for students to become part of the celebration,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “Obviously they are a big part of Wingate, and this will give them a way to be recognized in the years to come.”

The building will be the second LEED certified building in Union County. The architect for the project is Yates-Chreitzberg-Hughes Architects of Concord. The project continues a relationship between CM Black and Wingate that started more than a decade ago. Other facilities built by CM Black at Wingate include the Cannon Hall Annex, Hayes Classroom, The George A. Batte Fine Arts Building, and the Watson & Beam Hall three Student Housing Facilities.

“We are thrilled to have reached the topping out phase of construction of the project, and are still on target to reach our June completion date,” said Emmitt Black. “We take pride and value in our relationship with Wingate, and look forward to working with them in the coming year.”

Keeping the Foundation Strong – Justin Black continues Family Tradition

Justin Black has always known that he wanted to follow in the family footsteps.

As the third generation member of the CM Black team, he’s taken the role as a project manager and estimator for the company. He’s helping bring CM Black into the latest trends within the commercial construction business, all while maintaining the same values that have made CM Black such a success for the past 60 years. Also, just recently in early March, he successfully passed the Building Classification of the North Carolina General Contractor’s Licensing Board Examination.

“There was nothing else I’d rather do,” said Justin, 25, who joined the business in 2007 after receiving a BS in Construction Management from Clemson University. “My goal was to come in here and help continue what my dad, uncle and grandfather built.”

He’s always been fascinated by construction, watching and learning how to become a successful project manager. Some children might not want to take the same path as their parents, but that was never a question for Justin, who saw it as an opportunity to be a part of something great.

“You see what these guys have accomplished, and you just know you can learn so much from them,” he said. “I have been exposed to so many different parts of the process in such a short time. Clinton allowed me to make the choice on my own, but I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

Justin has also helped CM Black push forward in another area. He’s LEED accredited, and that education has helped CM Black stay ahead of competitors in the fast-changing world of green building.

“I really saw an opportunity for the company to grow, and I wanted to be ready before the ‘green’ wave hit,” he said. “I knew it was a chance to better our company so I went for it.”

Green building has surged in the region, and CM Black is ready for the challenge. The company is currently constructing a LEED certified building at Wingate University, and also expects to build another for Cabarrus County in the coming months. Justin said he’s learned a lot about the process, and said that it is an ongoing education because of the continuous change involved with green building.

“You have to be cognizant all the aspects to be successful,” he said. “There’s a lot to know, and the requirements are constantly changing. But we are prepared to handle that.”

Justin said he looks forward to working with Emmitt and Clinton for many years to come. He said it is too early to think about his future role with the company, but said as long as people have a need to build, he’ll be there to help them achieve a successful project while always maintaining CM Black’s core values.

“The thing that they have taught me the most is to preserve your ethics,” he said. “Sometimes that can be hard to find, and it is especially tough in this economy. Sometimes, people can tell you one thing and then do something else. But that’s not how we do it here. We are here to maintain relationships for the long term, and that’s why we do things the way we do.”

LEED Certification on Campus Continues to Grow

LEED Certification on Campus Continues to Grow
College campuses are considered areas of higher learning, but now many of those campuses can be considered places of higher energy efficiency thanks to the increase in LEED certified facilities. Nationwide, hundreds of projects are beginning, as well as other initiatives that will continue to push LEED certified projects into the mainstream of campus construction. More than 10 percent of all commercial starts are now expected to be LEED certified, and that percentage is expected to be even higher at college campuses.

Here are just some of the initiatives that have already begun:

* At Clemson University, all new construction must achieve a minimum of Silver LEED certification.
* The University of Florida requires all new construction to be LEED certified.
* The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will use LEED guidelines to develop a sustainability program for new projects.
* The University of South Carolina has committed to LEED goals in all building construction projects.

That trend has also continued in the Charlotte region. UNC Charlotte recently announced plans for a new 200,000 square foot building that is expected to earn Silver LEED certification. Local builder CM Black also recently broke ground on the new Levine College of Health Sciences building at Wingate University, which is also expected to earn LEED certification. The 69,000 square foot building will house the School of Pharmacy and the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

“LEED certification is an important development in commercial construction because of the financial impact it can have as well as the environmental impact,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We are committed to pursuing LEED certification, particularly at college campus facilities.”

CM Black finishes renovation, expansion of Albemarle City Hall

CM Black recently completed the renovation and expansion of the Albemarle City Hall, a project that added more than 30,000 square feet to the complex and also renovated the original 12,000 square foot structure.

The project will enable the city’s administrative functions to be consolidated into one facility. One of the most impressive aspects of the project was that it was completed on time with a total project cost of $9.5 million, more than $1 million under the original budget.

“CM Black did a terrific job,” said Albemarle Mayor Elbert “Whit” Whitley Jr. “All the comments I have received and heard here say the building couldn’t be any nicer. CM Black is to be commended. We were fortunate to have them on the project.”

The renovation of the historic city hall, which first opened in 1938, began with a groundbreaking in April 2008. The facility includes a new city council chambers that can seat at least 100 people. The facility also has a community training room, a new audio/visual system, and a drive-through collections window. It can also be expanded if necessary in the coming years.

“I really don’t think they could have done a better job,” Whitley Jr. said. “They were a very easy contractor to work with. I would highly recommend them to anyone who needed them.”

CM Black celebrates 60 year anniversary in 2010

CM Black Construction officials are proud to announce that they are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. For the past 60 years, through hard work, good times and bad, CM Black has been a builder of choice, proven by a significant track record of success that has continued through today.

In order to have success in construction, you have to have a strong foundation. In the case of CM Black, that foundation comes from Emmitt and Clinton Black, who have maintained their father’s vision when he started the company in 1950 by letting their reputation do the talking.

Emmitt and Clinton have been around construction sites since they were kids, sitting in the family pick-up truck while they waited for breaks to share sodas with the crew. They’d fetch tools or pass supplies to workers to help the process, while their father built up CM Black into a top residential builder.

CM Black started by building custom homes for prominent area doctors and lawyers, and also built a home for longtime Congressman Robin Hayes. The company maintained that kind of workload for more than 30 years, before Emmitt Black suggested a radical switch.

“I had met with a lot of architects who had done institutional work, and we decided to start making bids,” he said.

The first commercial project for CM Black was a modest eight-classroom addition to A.T. Allen Elementary in Concord in 1989. An addition to another local elementary school followed, and so did a new band room for Concord High. Those beginnings were the root for a major commercial construction growth, and now CM Black is one of the most respected commercial builders in the Concord region.

That reputation is built through plenty of handshakes and hard work. People who work with CM Black say that the company is built from integrity, and that’s why companies come back for more projects.

“I would highly recommend them for anyone looking for a project,” said Jon Mendenhall, the director of engineering services for the city of Albemarle, where CM Black recently completed the renovation and addition to its City Hall. “When we bid out our next project, we would want to see a bid from CM Black.”

CM Black has built many different projects – including some worth $40 million, and others worth a fraction of that. But each job, no matter the size, receives the same amount of care and commitment.

“No project is too small,” Clinton Black said. “Every project is important to those who are involved with it, and it builds our customer’s trust in us.” That mindset won’t change in the next 60 years. Technology will bring more advances, including more energy efficiency, increased productivity, and innovative approaches. But the foundation of CM Black will remain the trust and partnership that it forms with its customers.

LEED Certification Update

LEED Certification Update
LEED Certification continues to be among the hottest topics in the construction industry. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy — including $396 billion in wages -over the next four years.

More than 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. come from buildings, but green building is an increasingly popular way to maintain sustainability for facilities while limiting their carbon footprint. More than 30,000 people attended Greenbuild 2009 in Phoenix, Ariz., in November, which continued the discussion about the importance of green building.

Here is what former Vice President Al Gore told the Arizona Republic before speaking at the event. “The nation’s interest and the world’s interest in finding the most cost-effective way to reduce global-warming pollution have driven a heightened awareness of the win-win economics of green buildings, with better insulation, better lighting, better windows, white roofs and other energy-saving elements.”

Gore also stated that he hoped the construction industry would help fuel an economic turnaround in the U.S. “Construction of buildings is one of the oft-used initiatives to put people back to work quickly,” he said. “Those jobs can’t be outsourced.”

CM Black has already broken ground on one LEED-certified project at Wingate University, and is expected to break ground on another LEED-certified project, a Cabarrus County government building, in the coming months.

“We understand the importance of LEED-certified facilities,” said Emmitt Black. “That’s one of the primary reasons our staff has undergone that kind of training, and why we’re making the transition and looking for more green building opportunities.”

CM Black to build classroom building at Wingate University

CM Black Construction has begun construction on a new 69,000-square-foot College of Health Sciences building at Wingate University. The three-story building will also house the School of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant Studies Program.

The building is scheduled to be completed by May 2011, and the architect for the project is Yates-Chreitzberg-Hughes Architects from Concord.

Other facilities built by CM Black at Wingate include the Cannon Hall Annex, Hayes Classroom and Fine Arts Building. The College of Health Sciences Building is expected to earn LEED Certification, continuing CM Black’s push toward environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings.

“We are thrilled to have another opportunity to build a top-flight facility at Wingate,” said Emmitt Black. “We pride ourselves on our relationship with Wingate and look forward to working with Wingate officials on this project.”

Previous projects completed at Wingate University by CM Black include:

* George A. Batte Fine Arts Center — This 46,000-square-foot complex includes a main auditorium with seating for 528 people, an auxiliary recital hall that seats 275
* Hayes Classroom Building – This 16,000-square-foot facility houses 11 state-of-the-art classrooms and two office suites.
* Cannon Residence Hall and Annex – The residence hall includes more than 17,000 square feet of living space, while the annex added 20,100 square feet of housing for the university.

Getting business in tough conditions

Economic experts have said that the recession that has muddled business outlooks for most of the country for the past two years could begin to make a recovery in 2010. But experts in the commercial construction business said those companies might yet face lean times for many more months. Construction companies are often the last ones to feel the effects of an economic slowdown, since companies don”t typically stop projects that have already been started once conditions worsen.

Yet, once those projects are finished, commercial construction companies face longer, more difficult challenges. They are often the last group of businesses to rebound from slowdowns, because the trickle-down effect of the slowdown means that those businesses looking to build won”t start until they know they are on solid financial footing. Plans for new facilities can wait several months before ground is broken, leaving commercial construction companies in a waiting game.

Then, as companies wait, competition heats up. Projects that once had only a handful of bidders now routinely get 20 or more. Those bidders can then slash their estimates for projects, if only to ensure that they get some kind of business happening.

It can be a dangerous cycle for construction companies, and it can push some of them out of business. But others, such as CM Black, have learned to adapt to the conditions. CM Black has been around more than 50 years and has been building commercial buildings in the Charlotte region for more than 20 years. President Emmitt Black said the latest downturn has made his company make some changes, but CM Black has maintained its founding principles.

Those principles have helped CM Black earn projects such as the Wingate University College Building of Health and Sciences, and allowed the company to withstand the slowdown that has affected every construction company. Unemployment rates in North Carolina are higher than 10 percent. In the construction business that number is almost 19 percent nationally, the highest of the 11 categories tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 9,000 construction workers in the Charlotte region lost their jobs in September alone. After seeing those figures, Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), called the situation “dire” and “devastating.”

“The only green shoots contractors are seeing are the weeds sprouting around their idle construction equipment,” Sandherr told Building Design & Construction. But CM Black is still working. Emmitt Black credits his company”s longstanding reputation in the Charlotte area as one of the top builders in the region. He also credits the relationships the company has built over many years that have helped establish the trust, care and commitment that has helped CM Black continue to get business. “We have a 12-year relationship with Wingate, so they know what to expect from us,” Black said. “When you have that kind of history it really helps.”

CM Black”s established quality and integrity have helped the company, and so has its teamwork pledge. Every project is considered a team project between CM Black, the architects and the owners of the facility. Every facet of the project is negotiated to help streamline communication.

There also may be good news on the horizon. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) had its highest number of contract requests in October in more than a year. That could point to a market comeback during 2010. Emmitt Black said his company is prepared for whatever happens in the coming months. “We are still in a strong position,” Emmitt Black said. “We haven”t had to bid public work below cost to help us try to make ends meet. We will be O.K.”

Cutting Cost, Not Quality
Commercial construction continues to struggle – companies spent 36 percent less on construction this September as compared to September 2008 – and builders are feeling the pinch

With budgets being pinched, that makes a builder”s job that much more difficult, according to Emmitt Black.

“Everybody wants quality, but they want it done at as little cost as possible,” he said. “You understand why that is, but you still have to produce quality facilities.”

Black said that construction companies can do a few things to help alleviate costs. He said builders can substitute cheaper materials at times to help keep upfront costs down. They can also negotiate with subcontractors for better rates that also help the bottom line.

But, Black cautioned, there are few other alternatives. Some builders can try to walk too fine a line between building something cheaply, and building something that looks cheap. “Before we”d lower our quality, we”d lose the work,” he said. “You have to build something that”s sustainable for the long-term.”

CM Black Building Multiple Projects Throughout Charlotte Region

One of the top construction firms in the Southeast, CM Black recently completed residence halls at Wingate University and is in the final stages of construction on a new city hall in Albemarle.

Those projects, in addition to the Cabarrus building, add to an impressive portfolio that already includes classrooms and an auditorium at Wingate, dozens of retail and commercial projects and other facilities.
“We are excited to have these projects,” said Emmitt Black. “We know that in these trying economic times, it is important to build sustainable projects of the highest quality.”

LEED Certification By the Numbers

31% – Percentage of all LEED-certified buildings that are owned by government
760 – Number of LEED-certified government projects in U.S. as of August 2009
7,500+ – Number of government projects currently pursuing LEED certification
72% – Percentage of electricity consumed by buildings
26% – Percentage decrease in energy usage by green buildings

Future of LEED-Certified Government Buildings Appears Bright

Governments can change course at the drop of a vote. Today’s priorities can become tomorrow’s forgotten pledges. But don’t expect LEED certification for government to be simply a passing fad.

The Charlotte City Council is expected to vote in the coming months to create a sustainable building policy, which could recommend LEED certification for government buildings. Cabarrus County officials have said that they are planning to make every new government building LEED-certified as well.

“This is not a trend; it’s here to stay,” said Mark Hahn, the director of real estate services for Mecklenburg County. “The entire building industry is headed in this direction. To me, it is like buildings that are ADA-approved. That started out in a few places, and now it is a part of every building code. Maybe one day green buildings will be the same way.”

Furthermore, increased attention to green building practices is not limited to the U.S. LEED certification is an international standard, and the number of certified buildings worldwide is growing daily. For example, several buildings constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing were LEED-certified.

“You can already see a trend toward LEED certification in government buildings and elsewhere,” said Emmitt Black, president of CM Black Construction. “Builders know we have to be prepared and knowledgeable on all that entails.”

As the demand for green buildings continue to grow, CM Black has kept pace with the trend. Project manager/estimator Justin Black achieved LEED Professional Accreditation in 2008; this designation distinguishes industry professionals who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green business practices and principles as well as the LEED rating system.

The primary objection that LEED critics raise is cost. Hahn said construction costs on average are two percent higher for buildings to meet Silver LEED certification standards and much higher for buildings to achieve Gold or Platinum certification. But he said over time, the additional expense can be well worth it.

“You can save 10 percent a year just in energy costs,” Hahn said. “That will easily trump any cost associated with LEED certification. The big thing is that payback. There are initial costs, but it makes sense to design a building as efficiently as you can to make everything more productive.”

There are other benefits that aren’t as easy to quantify. LEED-certified buildings can mean less material going into landfills, a minimized heat effect and a smaller carbon footprint. At least one international study attributes 40 percent of global warming to inefficient buildings.

“The air quality is better, people are out sick less often and it really enhances our pledge of sustainability,” said Kevin Bilafer, sustainability manager for Cabarrus County. “We are really looking at LEED certification for the long term.”

LEED-Certified Government Buildings on the Rise

The belt-tightening that has pinched local government budgets has made it vital for every dollar spent to yield maximum return on investment. When the need arises to construct new facilities, green building practices are increasingly being considered as a way to realize long-term savings in addition to making a positive impact on the environment.

Cabarrus County is planning to break ground later this year on a new office building that will house the board of elections, parks department, Veterans Affairs and other offices. That building, constructed by CM Black, is expected to receive Silver LEED certification.

Kyle Bilafer, director of general services for Cabarrus County, said the county decided to construct an LEED-certified building to set an example for other industries and businesses to follow.

“It’s really part of the county’s commitment to being more sustainable,” he said. “You need government to be the leader and establish that kind of culture. We are sending a message that this is a focus of ours.”

Cabarrus County joins other governmental organizations throughout the nation that have already adopted green construction practices, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities, which opened an LEED-certified building this spring.

Emmitt Black, president of CM Black, understands the importance of having LEED-certified buildings, which offer many environmental benefits. He said he is looking forward to working with Cabarrus County on this project.

“We have done all the necessary training to ensure that our building will meet the stringent standards required for LEED certification,” Black said. “We believe that many more buildings will be LEED-certified in the future because of the emphasis on improving the environment and the cost benefit it can have down the road.”

Bill Hughes of Yates-Chreitzberg-Hughes Architecture in Concord said that it is, in fact, now the policy of many governments and colleges to build LEED-certified buildings. He also noted that many of the LEED certification criteria have been incorporated into North Carolina building codes.

Julie McClellan, the senior project manager for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities, said LEED certification even changes the way the public perceives government buildings.

“LEED-certified buildings are considered more valuable per square foot across the country, and people who work in those buildings have a higher productivity and higher morale across the board. Studies have also shown that it can lead to higher employee retention,” she said.

Adds Kevin Grant, sustainability manager for Cabarrus County, “You always want a happier, more productive workforce. And, if you can save money at the same time, that’s even better.”

Key Concerns for On-Campus Development

When a college or university decides to construct a new building or renovate an existing structure, one of the biggest challenges facing the construction team is how to execute the project safely and with minimal disruption to the learning and living environment on campus.

As Emmitt Black, president of CM Black explains, “Safety is our biggest concern, both for those working on the site and for passersby. Since most schools have classes from the early morning through the evening, there is rarely a time when you do not have large groups of students, faculty and staff near the construction zone.”

Pedestrian safety needs should be addressed via handicapped-accessible paths, barriers, signage, signals and lighting. According to CM Black Vice President Clinton Black, “It is critical to clearly mark construction areas from many angles. Students and faculty are often in a rush and will sometimes look for a shortcut to get to their destination across campus. Therefore, it is imperative that you barricade and identify any possible entrance to the construction zone.”

Another critical issue that must be taken into consideration is noise. The noises and vibrations that are common effects of construction can not only cause a disturbance to classes and test-taking but can also be detrimental to certain research and instructional instruments. Prior to beginning construction, it is important to establish noise and vibration criteria limits based upon the use of adjacent buildings. These specifications can be incorporated into the project contract along with the agreed upon hours of operation for construction activities.

Utility work is another potential problem area for construction on college and university campuses. Phasing of construction activities should be designed to minimize any necessary interruptions to communications, data, alarm, temperature control, fire protection and power systems, and these service outages should be communicated far in advance to the appropriate campus administrators.

In order to keep campus projects on track while maintaining the best possible quality of life for students and faculty, a comprehensive construction mitigation plan should be developed that identifies interrelated issues and sets forth strategies to address them. Throughout the construction process, it is also essential for the build team to maintain open communication with campus administrators, staff and other stakeholders in order to foster positive working relationships, coordinate schedules and minimize conflicts.

Spotlight: Wingate University

Over the past decade, Wingate University, a private four-year university located just east of Charlotte, N.C., has completed several key construction projects to accommodate growth in enrollment and keep pace with the expansion of its educational programs.

Wingate’s construction firm of choice for these projects has been CM Black, with whom the university has enjoyed a long-standing relationship thanks to the company’s hands-on management style and their ability to meet requests from the architect and the university in a timely manner that ensures the ultimate success of their projects.

CM Black President Emmitt Black says, “We are excited to be an active partner in Wingate University’s growth. We take pride in being selected to build state-of-the-art facilities that will provide students an exceptional learning environment with all the tools to receive a top-notch education.”

Black also credits the university for their role in the success of their partnership, which he attributes to their understanding of “the value of teamwork and how quality construction contributes to creating a positive environment for students, educators and alumni.”

Following are a few highlights of the projects CM Black has completed on the Wingate University campus.

Hayes Classroom Building
SF: 13,000

The three-story Hayes Classroom Building features wood framing and masonry veneer. It houses two office suites and 11 state-of-the-art “smart” classrooms, which are fully equipped for multimedia and interactive instruction as well as to provide a wireless working environment for faculty and students.

The building was designed to complement the architecture of the adjacent Burris Classroom Building, the oldest instructional building on the campus that dates back to 1933.

Cannon Hall Annex
SF: 20,100

The three-story Cannon Hall Annex was designed by Yates-Chreitzberg-Hughes Architects to create a unified look with the style of the existing Cannon Residence Hall. The annex encompasses nine residential suites, each with four bedrooms and a common living area, kitchen and bathroom.

George A. Batte Jr. Fine Arts Center
SF: 46,000

The $8.3 million fine arts center and auditorium includes a steel frame structural system and masonry veneer. The facility houses the university’s music and theater departments as well as an auditorium with seating for 554, an auxiliary recital hall that seats 275 and a secure gallery for permanent art displays. The Hannah Covington McGee Theater, which hosts renowned performing artists from around the world, features a stage with theatrical rigging and a 400-square-foot orchestra pit nine feet below the finished floor.

College Construction Goes Green

Construction on the campuses of higher education institutions is big business. In fact, according to American School & University magazine, colleges and universities spent more than $17.7 billion in 2008 alone on the construction of new facilities or renovation and expansion of existing structures.

And thanks to growing demand from students, faculty and community members, an increasing percentage of this business is going green. In 2008, over 130 green buildings on college and university campuses were planned, started, opened or awarded LEED certification. Furthermore, 290 institutions of higher learning across the nation, from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to Claremont McKenna College in California, have adopted policies requiring that all new construction be built according to the standards for LEED certification set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council.

In the collegiate race to go green, Harvard University has emerged as the leader. The university, which has 13 LEED-certified buildings and 23 more registered with the USGBC, has developed the Green Building Resource, a continuously updated collection of best practices in green building that allows others to use Harvard as a model in meeting their own sustainability goals.

Located online at, the resource offers lessons learned from Harvard’s LEED projects. There are roadmaps for obtaining LEED certification as well as how-to guides for executing an integrated design process, lifecycle costing, energy modeling and more. It also features an archive of completed LEED projects at Harvard and a database of innovative green technologies and products.

According to Emmitt Black, president of the Concord, N.C.-based construction firm CM Black, “LEED-certified buildings are becoming more sought after across the board. However, achieving an appropriate amount of LEED points can sometimes be cost prohibitive. Nevertheless some developers are seeing their projects come in under budget and have been able to take that excess money and put it toward LEED components.”

This is exactly the situation for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s Building 400, which is currently under development on its North Campus in Salisbury, N.C. Bids for the two-story, 38,000-square-foot classroom building came in under budget, so the school had the flexibility to incorporate energy-efficient lighting and heating systems. It is also expected that 21 percent of construction materials will be recycled and 35 percent will be sourced from the surrounding region, allowing the building to be eligible for LEED certification. The construction process itself will even serve as an educational tool, as RCCC will train 16 instructors how to teach LEED certification.

The trend toward environmentally conscious development on college and university campuses is one that shows no signs of slowing. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future, recently released the AASHE Digest 2008, which documents initiatives at nearly 700 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. As AASHE acting executive director Judy Walton explains, “Despite the global economic downturn, or perhaps in part because of it, the creative energy behind sustainability initiatives is flourishing.”