Legislative and local leaders helped the Alabama Department of Environmental Management break ground today for a modern, 15,000-square-foot field office in Mobile that will allow for more efficient environmental protection services in the biodiverse-rich coastal area and complement the city’s redevelopment efforts in the Broad Street area.
The $11 million building is being funded mostly by $7.9 million approved by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) using settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill. The Alabama Legislature approved an additional $3 million this year for the project. The new building will bring under one roof about 30 ADEM staff who are currently working in two buildings almost 10 miles apart, replacing an outdated facility and lessening duplication of resources.
“Very few, if any, places on Earth have the ecological riches of the Mobile Delta,” ADEM Director Lance LeFleur said. “ADEM has played, and will continue to play, an important role in protecting those natural assets, just as it did in responding to the oil spill. This new field office will allow our staff to do that more efficiently by having all our resources and services in one building.”
Among Mobile area government officials and leaders joining Director LeFleur and ADEM staff at today’s groundbreaking were state Representative Adline Clarke, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s Chief of Staff James Barber and members of the AGCRC. The 10-member council was created following passage of the federal RESTORE Act in 2012 and includes among its members Mobile and Baldwin county commissioners and mayors.
Also on hand were project architect Nic Gray of Watermark Design Group, LLC, and contractor Lance Wyatt of J.T. Harrison Construction Company, Inc.
Director LeFleur pointed out that the architectural rendering of the building shows a design with a connection to the region. “The curved front will produce a changing effect as the sunlight and shadows move throughout the day,” he said. “The design seeks to reflect the dynamics of the hydrological cycle.”
He also noted the significance of the new building’s location.
“We are pleased to be locating here and participating in Mobile’s major redevelopment of Broad Street, which is the main link between the city and the important planned airport expansion. This contemporary institutional facility will help make a favorable first impression for those flying into Mobile.”
The building is expected to be completed in May 2023.
In recognition of Earth Day, 100 long leaf pine seedlings provided by the Alabama Forestry Commission were given to groundbreaking attendees as part of the effort to re-establish the long leaf pine forests that once covered much of Alabama and provided important habitat for many of the state’s diverse native air and land species.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management administers all major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts and federal solid and hazardous waste laws. The mission at ADEM is to assure for all citizens of the State a safe, healthful, and productive environment.
For more information, go online to www.adem.alabama.gov.