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Construction strengthens businesses

When the announcement was made that new buildings would be constructed on the campus of Selma High School and others would undergo massive renovations, many focused on the positive impact these changes would have on the students.

However, the impact of new construction goes much beyond the student population. The use of local workers and local materials has already had a tremendous impact throughout Dallas County on several local businesses.

One such business is Henry Brick. An order for more than 600,000 bricks to complete the project was music to the ears of vice president of sales and co-owner Jim Cothran. An order of that magnitude, Cothran said, can have a tremendous impact on the local economy and the citizens of Dallas County.

“Any time they use construction materials that are local it is going to help,” he said. “It was beneficial to us because we are a state manufacturer and we pay state and local taxes. It is always nice when we can ship a job three or four miles from our brickyard. I especially enjoyed it because I went to Selma High School.”

One of the biggest positives for Henry Brick, Cothran said, is the fact that it keeps the product moving out instead of sitting in a warehouse waiting for orders. He also said investing money back into local businesses comes back to the school system full-circle.

“It had a real good impact on us because it keeps the inventory number down,” he said. “All the local work you can get is great. Our tax dollars go to pay for education, so it doesn’t do any good to send the money to Georgia, Tennessee or South and North Carolina.”

The impact of the multi- million project, Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce director Sheryl Smedley said, can be felt throughout the county.

“The impact this $27 million project has toward our city and county supports food, building materials, gas and lodging locally,” she said. “It generates tax revenue, creating a demand for products and services in our community.”

Obviously, there are also a number of positives for the students. Carla Young, of Goodwin, Mills and Cawood said they hope to create a bright, vibrant interior to give the students a more appealing learning environment.

“We’re trying to give them a fun, light, colorful building for the students because I think they deserve it, and I would hate to see the mundane for them,” she said.

While the idea of livening up the school will have a positive impact for the school’s population, Cothran said it could also bring lots of positive attention to the city of Selma.

“This has been a really good project and the architect did a great job with the color selection,” he said. “The kids are going to have a super-fine facility and hopefully we can get it put up for an architectural award. It would be nice to win an architectural award for a project here in Selma, and my intention is to put it up. It’s going to be a nice thing for Selma.”

Underneath the obvious benefits of large orders and better facilities for the students, the biggest impact of all from new construction at Selma High School comes to those who clock in every day. Workers at Henry Brick and locals who are a part of the construction process feel the biggest boost from keeping a project of this size local.

The large order, Cothran said, has allowed his company to keep people working through the holidays.

Henry Brick, Cothran said, is not facing an outage or shutdown to manage an overstocked inventory this year.

“That’s the biggest impact — people get to stay continuously employed,” he said. “With the current building environment a number of other businesses have had to watch how many brick they put in inventory and at some point they have to turn off the plant and do maintenance and whatever else you have to do to let that number go down to an acceptable level. Then you can bring your people back.”

It’s always disheartening, Cothran said, to send people home when they want, and need to work.

“It’s not fun to lay people off,” he said. “We’re in a situation now, and Selma High is part of that, to where we can continue to run through the holidays and evaluate what January looks like.

“Hopefully, we don’t have too cold of a winter and construction continues.”

 
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