News & Events

TAVARES, FL (April 27, 2017) – A dozen children were overjoyed today to learn that construction-themed cookies would be served following their field trip to the Batson-Cook jobsite located next door to their pre-school center at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, Florida.

Batson-Cook is in the process of building Fountain Inn Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on the hospital’s campus, and the children watch construction progress daily from their playground. The VPK class, made up of a dozen 4- and 5-year-olds, donned Batson-Cook hard hats and walked to the site to view the work up close and learn about jobsite safety from Gene Merson, Batson-Cook’s project safety manager.

“These children are fascinated by construction!” said Nancy Stott, manager of child care services at Florida Hospital Waterman. “Having their very own hard hat and a cookie decorated with a bulldozer or dump truck is very exciting for them, as you can tell!”

The children greeted the Batson-Cook project representatives with their rendition of “The Construction Song.” Hospital CEO David Ottati and COO Anita Young joined the class for their field trip.

Fountain Inn is a $20-million senior healthcare facility that will feature 120 private patient rooms. Completion is anticipated in the fall of this year. Batson-Cook recently broke ground for construction of the $23-million Celebration Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Celebration, Florida. It, too, will have 120 private beds and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2018.  Both facilities are owned by Adventist Care Centers of Orlando.


ATLANTA, GA (April 13, 2017) – Batson-Cook Company today announced that David Barksdale, chief operating officer, is retiring after 40 years with the 102-year-old general contracting and construction management firm, effective immediately. Kevin Appleton, currently senior vice president and manager of Atlanta healthcare, will succeed Barksdale as COO, and Denny Godwin, a healthcare project executive, will become vice president of Atlanta healthcare.  All three executives are headquartered in the company’s offices in Atlanta.

Barksdale, who joined Batson-Cook after graduating from Auburn University with a bachelor’s in building science, will serve as executive advisor to the company’s corporate management team during the transition.  He began his career as a field engineer in the Jacksonville, Florida, regional office, and held both field and project management positions before being named senior vice president and general manager of that office in 1999. Thirteen years later, after 35 years in Jacksonville, he relocated to Atlanta to head the company’s regional office there, and was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2014.

“David has been fiercely loyal to Batson-Cook for 40 years,” said Randy Hall, president and CEO. “It was imperative that his successor have not only an operations mindset, a track record of achievement and loyalty to the company, but also a passion to take the company to even higher levels of success,” he continued.  “I strongly believe that Kevin is that person.”

Appleton, as head of Atlanta healthcare, oversaw construction of all healthcare projects in Georgia. Like Barksdale, he joined Batson-Cook as a field engineer following graduation from Auburn University, where he earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering. He rose through the ranks to become a project superintendent, by which time he was working almost exclusively on hospital projects. He transitioned to healthcare project management in 2010, and was named senior vice president and general manager of Atlanta healthcare just four years later. His personal project portfolio tops $1 billion, of which $700 million represents healthcare work.

Godwin, a 24-year construction veteran, joined Batson-Cook in 2013. He holds a bachelor’s in construction from Georgia Southern University, and serves on its College of Civil Engineering & Construction Management Board. He is a Certified Healthcare Contractor, the highest level of certification attainable from the American Hospital Association, and his personal construction portfolio totals nearly $400 million across multiple market sectors.

Batson-Cook Construction, founded in 1915, builds a wide range of commercial projects for healthcare, multi-family residential, office, education, hospitality and private development clients throughout the Southeast.  We have the heart of a family-owned general contractor with the reach of a global construction firm.  We build with passion.  We operate with integrity.

ATLANTA, GA – Ask 17 construction trades students at Atlanta’s Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School about Jimmy Kennedy and Batson-Cook, and you’ll hear nothing but praise and accolades.  Their instructor, Richard Elder, will tell you that Batson-Cook, an alliance of trade partners, and Associated General Contractors of Georgia have made his dreams come true in 10 short months.

Wondering just how that happened?  Consider the convergence of the following:

  • Crim High School, an open campus alternative school offering career pathway training and credit-recovery core classes, had a small, poorly-equipped space for teaching construction trades to students interested in the field.  Funds for improving the situation were not available.
  • Randy Hall, Batson-Cook’s president and CEO, is currently president of Associated General Contractors of Georgia. One of his initiatives is to enhance AGC’s Workforce Development Program, the purpose of which is to challenge contractors to partner with local high schools that teach construction in order to educate students about the rewards of a career in construction and create a sustainable workforce for years to come. Hall himself has served in a variety of advisory roles to college construction programs, and is acutely aware of the current shortage of construction trades craftsmen.
  • Jimmy Kennedy, a project executive for Batson-Cook’s healthcare operations in Atlanta, was eager to tackle a different kind project that would benefit young people, the construction industry, and the local community.

These factors led Batson-Cook to adopt Crim as its Workforce Development partner. Jimmy took the lead and formed an alliance with two dozen Batson-Cook trade partners to build out and equip a construction lab and classroom at the high school. The group toured the facility last May, developed a plan and schedule over the summer, and began construction in October. The students worked alongside Kennedy and other alliance team members, thereby gaining valuable hands-on experience in carpentry, framing, painting, and electrical trades. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week, and the students could not have been more excited.

"Seeing the passion and enthusiasm grow in these kids as they began to grasp the variety of opportunities available to them in construction was so rewarding,” Kennedy said. “They understand now that they have a lot of choices; they aren’t limited to being a laborer in the field.” 

Said Richard Elder, their instructor and the manager of Crim’s Work-Based Learning Program, “No one is leaving empty-handed anymore. Whether they want to go to college or start a career, we’re making it happen here at Crim. 

“This is the only construction program in the Atlanta school system right now,” he continued. “I’ve taught construction for 33 years and have been at Crim for 13.  I’ve hung in there, and I’m glad, because I finally have an avenue for the four major industry trades – plumbing, electric, masonry and carpentry – to come to class and work one-on-one with our students.”

Elder noted that student responses to the Workforce Development alliance were moving. One of two female students said, “I’ve always felt lost (in the education system), but I’ve found my calling now.” He added that a male student who has faced many challenges is “transforming before my eyes. He’s going to be president of something one day!”

“One of the goals of our alliance is to get to know the students so we can introduce them to an exciting career in construction,” Hall said. “When I saw one of the students walk up to Jimmy and say ‘Hey, I know you!’, I knew the effort was successful.

“I am very proud of our Workforce Development team and especially proud of Jimmy Kennedy,” Hall continued. “Many trade partners participated in the project, but in the end, the students did most of the work.”

Construction trades instructor Richard Elder, center, discusses new lab equipment


CELEBRATION, FL (March 30, 2017) – Gleaming shovels wielded scoops of earth this morning as ground was broken for Celebration Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a $26-million senior healthcare center being built by Batson-Cook Construction for Adventist Care Centers of Orlando. The nursing and rehabilitation facility, located just outside the main entrance to Walt Disney World, will be Adventist’s first care center in Osceola County.

The architect’s rendering of the project was revealed publicly for the first time at the groundbreaking. Designed to reflect a home-style, hospitable atmosphere, the new two-story facility will have 120 private rooms, a therapy gym for physical and occupational therapy, and two dining areas on each floor. The project will encompass 85,000 square feet and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2018.

Celebration Center will be situated on an 8.6-acre site at 1290 Celebration Boulevard.  Its proximity to Walt Disney World will afford patients and staff a view of the entertainment resort’s nightly fireworks show.

Architect for the project is Lantz-Boggio Architects of Denver, Colorado.

Batson-Cook’s project team, led by Project Executive Chris Shepherd, includes Eric Clayton, project manager; Sandra Volz, assistant project manager; Eric Hnyla, superintendent; Cissy Gunter, construction coordinator; Scott Hudson and Jeff O’Dwyer, preconstruction.

Batson-Cook Construction, founded in 1915, builds a wide range of commercial projects for healthcare, multi-family, office and private development clients throughout the Southeast. We have the heart of a family-owned general contractor with the reach of a global construction firm. We build with passion. We operate with integrity. For more information, visit