Housing authority updates 66 apartments
by Marie Nesmith
Jul 06, 2012 | 2345 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Philya Gray, executive director for the Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority, and architect James Haigler walk by some of the renovated homes on Stonewall Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Philya Gray, executive director for the Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority, and architect James Haigler walk by some of the renovated homes on Stonewall Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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James Haigler looks at his next project, updating the homes in the Summer Hill area.  SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
James Haigler looks at his next project, updating the homes in the Summer Hill area. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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With the first portion of Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority's beautification project complete, 66 apartments on Postelle, Stonewall and Puckett streets are sporting a modern look.

"My role, as principal architect and owner of Haigler Systems Architecture, was to design a series of facades that could be applied to the existing 1950s vintage apartments to make them more energy efficient and increase the aesthetic appeal," James Haigler said. "The process involves concept plans and developing these ideas into construction documents that are bid on by general contractors. The final phase involves field observations and reports to carry the designs through to fruition.

"Specifically, the job involved modifying roof lines to add interest, bringing in a variety of facing materials and decorative features, such as columns, railings and doors, and combining these elements into a unified and attractive appearance."

The renovation work at the Stonewall Homes neighborhood, which began in January and wrapped up last month, also included the addition of new energy-efficient heaters and air conditioners to help lower the residents' utility payments.

"It was funded by our reserve," said Philya Gray, executive director for the Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority. "Our reserve is money that we have put back that was allotted to us by HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]. And by spending wisely and putting it back, we managed to accumulate a very large reserve. So we are using that at this time to do the work to modernize our units and beautify them for the community.

"[For the renovation project], we changed windows. We changed doors. We changed the appearance by putting a brick [facade]. We changed the porch lines, the roof lines. It helped to insulate them and bring them up to modern standards. ... [The apartments look] wonderful. We're very proud of them. [It is] better than we ever imagined. ... I can't imagine anybody in the community not appreciating what's been done. I wouldn't say it has created jobs, but it has helped the builders who got the contracts to maintain, to keep their men working. So it's been a good source of income for them."

With the renovation complete at Stonewall Homes, the Etowah Area Consolidated Housing Authority now is focusing on updating its housing in the Summer Hill area.

"Bids were recently received on the 44 unit, Stokley, Jones and Baker streets site, and construction should begin in mid-July and be completed in early 2013," Haigler said. "The plans call for a similar treatment of these units that will reflect many of the features found in the recently completed job."