New Azalea Hall at MSU to offer students private living, communal spaces, state-of-the-art dining

A nearly $100 million budgeted Mississippi State residence hall will serve future Bulldogs as a central hub for campus life, dining, academic partnerships and other community needs for decades to come. “This project focuses on today’s college students’ needs and wants—to engage with one another, have more privacy and ignite their academic and social well-being. The design provides optimal opportunities for student engagement and collaboration with one another, as well as the MSU community,” said Dei Allard, MSU Housing and Residence Life executive director.

https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2024/01/new-azalea-hall-msu-offer-students-private-living-communal-spaces-state

WBA MEET THE TEAM: COURTNEY BLAKE

Courtney has always been fascinated by the creation of large structures. While studying finance at Mississippi State, he quickly realized that fascination was a purpose and pivoted the rest of his internships to be in construction and real estate. Over the years, he has gained great experience that he now gets to put to work as WBA’s Construction Administrator. The diverse projects in WBA’s portfolio align perfectly with his passion to be a part of unique and impactful endeavors.

What is your role at WBA?

 In my capacity as Construction Administrator I am WBA’s liaison between the owner and general contractor. I handle project coordination throughout the construction of a project. My primary responsibility is to ensure that the contractual agreements align with the architectural plans, overseeing tasks such as reviewing submittals, conducting site visits, and maintaining quality control. Additionally, I contribute to cost estimating and value engineering, leveraging my skills to create accurate budgets throughout the project’s lifecycle, from conceptualization to construction drawings. Overall I view the role as being supportive to our brilliant team of project managers and staff.

What drew you to this field?

My academic background is in Accounting/Financebut I quickly realized during my initial internships in those fields that they weren’t the right fit for me. So, I pursued my next internships in real estate and construction, drawn to the idea of contributing to the creation of large structures—a childhood fascination of mine. What’s cool now is that the grandiose ideas I had about renovating old buildings and large structures are now becoming a reality. WBA’s diverse projects, which include such endeavors, align perfectly with my passion and allow me to be part of unique and impactful projects. 

What’s your favorite project you have worked on so far?

MSU New Residence Hall: I am a Mississippi State University alum and always wanted to be a part of building a project there. So for my first project to be one of the largest residence halls on campus is pretty cool. 

What inspires you both professionally and personally?

Winning!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Live your life by the Golden Rule.

What’s your favorite building?

Lucas Oil Stadium

If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

1. My Father, 2. Felix Dennis, 3. Kobe Bryant 

What’s your favorite podcast, book, or film?

Felix Dennis, How To Get Rich. Read it, the answer may surprise you!