Page 18

Birmingham Bar Association Summer 2016

Special Interest Hannah C. Thompson A New Look to a Legendary Venue for the Bar The building which houses the Birmingham Bar Center has a history, including noteworthy recent improvements that should be useful and accommodating to the members of the Birmingham Bar Association (“BBA”). In approximately 1994, the Birmingham Bar Foundation purchased the building at 2021 2nd Avenue North, the current home of the Birmingham Bar Center.  After renovation and upgrades, the BBA moved into its new home in 1995, leasing the property from the Bar Foundation.  Shortly thereafter, in 1996, Ray (“Ronnie”) O. Noojin, a long-time partner at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, a former BBA President, and a long-time BBA supporter, passed away. In memory and honor of Mr. Noojin, the Hare Wynn firm offered to install a courtyard next to the Bar Center.   The courtyard was dedicated as the Noojin Memorial Courtyard (the “Courtyard”). In the 20 years since it was initially dedicated, the Courtyard has been the scene of numerous social events and gatherings among BBA members. However, the ravages of time and weather took their toll on the beloved Courtyard and, coupled with the growth of our Bar, the Courtyard became more confining, which meant it saw less and less use from Bar members. In January 2016, the BBA Task Force on Bar Building Improvements, explored possible building upgrades with the hope of BEFORE enhancing the Bar Center and the adjacent Courtyard to better serve members’ needs for CLE training and social opportunities.  “I wanted to make sure that the Bar Center, which belongs to all Birmingham Bar members, was being used most efficiently and functionally, and I thought a task force to study the use and possible upgrade of the Bar Center made sense,” said President MacKenzie, noting that aside from a conference room upgrade and adding occupancy for the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham’s administrative office space, the Bar Center had not had any capital improvements for nearly two decades.  The funding for the renovations and upgrades for the Courtyard was spearheaded by Leon Ashford, managing partner of the Hare Wynn firm and friend of the late Ronnie Noojin. The first recommendation made by the task force was to upgrade the Courtyard, specifically to enlarge the footprint, so as to accommodate our increased membership, and to provide a more welcoming and user-friendly environment for hosting outdoor functions.  To that end, local landscaper Peter Falkner and others offered suggestions on how best to accomplish these objectives, remaining mindful of the Bar’s non-profit status and financial constraints.  Mr. Falkner’s plan was selected, and the work began to enlarge the Courtyard’s footprint, saving mature plantings that appropriately fit, and adding fresh landscaping and a presentation area at one end of the Courtyard. The new hardscape and landscape was completed at the end of April of this year. In addition to the improved landscape of the Courtyard, outdoor seating has been added, along with lighting, outdoor Wi-Fi capability, and an outdoor speaker system.  Planters with annual plantings will add a final touch of color to the 18 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Summer 2016
To see the actual publication please follow the link above