Posted on March 31, 2011 by Mike Means

If you were in the COHBA building last Tuesday, you could feel the enthusiasm and vitality of the homebuilders and associates gathering together from across the state.

They were attending the OSHBA's quarterly general membership meeting. The feeling was enhanced particularly as we met in the spanking-new COHBA headquarters. The construction, under the guidance of former state president Mike Gilles, is not only beautiful, but completely built with the best practices in green building.

The main meeting room seats 300 with an airy, large-meeting setting. As an example of the building's versatility, the facility was booked for a wedding reception one night and, on another, leased for a birthday party for two 13-year-olds.

COHBA's grand opening/reception is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. May 12, so come on out.

The reports from around the state were "things are looking up." There's no denying it, some areas are suffering. Stillwater reported building permits are down 87 percent, but SHBA president Matt Keys qualified that the stats do not reflect homes built outside the city limits, where many number are being constructed.

Conversely, Tony Foust, president of Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma, and Lawton's Steve Barnes reported seeing a positive increase in association membership. Foust said he's starting to see double-digit growth numbers.

Moore homebuilders are kicking in with a new energy around activities, hosting their first-ever bowling night.

Building permits numbers are down in southern Oklahoma, but Shane Ross, the area's association president, presented an impressive list of construction projects in the Ardmore area that would make anyone in economic development smile:

-- A $7 million cancer-treatment center to be completed in May.

-- A Holiday Inn with a sports bar and an expansion of Ardmore's convention center, to be completed in September.

-- The hospital's completion of a $65 million expansion.

-- The technology park's anticipated completion in the first quarter of next year with a 5,000-square-foot business incubator facility

-- Michelin Tire's expansion.

--- And Phase 3 of Hickory Ridge starts next year. Hickory Ridge is a partnership between the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, the Ardmore Development Authority and the City of Ardmore, in an effort to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city.

There's no mistakin' it. There's a buzz in the air.

Also, Kimmi Houston, national chair of Professional Women in Building and Edmond resident, announces the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission has approved a six-elective credit class for Realtors and Builders on "Customer Service," scheduled all day April 13, and "Profitable Business through Quality Practices," all day April 14. Call Kathy Kastner at the state office at 405-843-5579 to enroll.

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