Posted by Philip Poole on 2010-07-13

Samford University has yet another winner, but this time it is a building and not related to academics or athletics competition. The Cooney Family Field House, which opened in August 2009, has received an Excellence in Construction Award from the Alabama Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

The award, in the institutional category, was presented to Gary C. Wyatt General Contractor, LLC, of Birmingham, the general contractor for the facility. Company CEO Gary Wyatt and his son, John, business development officer, shared the award July 13 to Sarah C. Latham, Samford’s vice president for operations and planning, and Samford head football coach Pat Sullivan.

Latham’s office oversaw the building’s planning and construction. The $8 million project was completed in nine months. The first two floors house locker rooms, equipment storage, weight rooms, offices and meeting rooms for Samford’s football program. It is named for the family of former Samford player and 1974 graduate Gary Cooney. The Cooney family provided major funding for the facility. The third floor is available for future expansion, Latham said.

“The pride of working for Samford was noticeably high during construction,” Gary Wyatt said. “The ‘wows’ that were heard from the players on move-in day said it all. The challenge for speed and quality that was played out by all of the subcontractors was consummated that day. Pride was flowing throughout the crews.”

Sullivan echoed Wyatt’s sentiments about the building.

“It’s been a wonderful building,” Sullivan said. “The pride that our players have taken in the facility is great. If you walk through the building, it still looks new.”

Wyatt Construction has been a partner with Samford on several other projects, most recently Jane Hollock Brock Hall in the university’s fine arts complex that opened in 2006.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association with 77 chapters representing 25,000 construction and construction-related firms. ABC's membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors of the industry.  The Institutional category covers buildings built by prime contractors  for colleges, elementary or secondary schools, laboratories, jails, prisons, churches, stadiums, sports arenas, performing arts centers, zoos or airports.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.