Alabaster non-profit group formed to help with stadium renovations

A non-profit organization, Alabaster Sports and Entertainment Foundation, has been formed to help raise money for renovations at Thompson High School’s Larry Simmons Stadium.

The group has secured the $10,000 it needed to retain the services of EnviroTurf, a Jackson, Miss., company that will lead the renovations. There will be a contract signing ceremony with EnviroTurf on Friday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. at the stadium. The signing will move indoors to the Thompson High School gymnasium if there is inclement weather.

ASEF member Sharon Hayes said the organization’s mission is to facilitate the planning, execution and maintenance of a sports and entertainment complex at Larry Simmons Stadium to serve the communities of Alabaster and Shelby County. Not only will this complex be able to sufficiently house the Thompson football teams, but it will also host track meets, band competitions, soccer tournaments, and other activities, Hayes said.

“We also envision this complex being utilized by our community for other entertainment events, which include special olympics and a public walking track,” Hayes said.

Hayes said the ASEF is teaming up with EnviroTurf to upgrade the stadium. Hayes said the following projects will be rolled out in phases, as money is available. The initial project will include a state-of-the-art field with the newest technology artificial turf, a track and field surface that meets state and national guidelines and enables the hosting of competitive meets, new visitor bleachers, resurfaced home bleachers, a new press box (which will be developed on the home side of the field), new concession stands that will meet state and national guidelines and the development of additional needed structures such as a field house and ticket booths.

The complex will be also be designed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines.

Funding for this project will be done through individuals and interested corporate sponsors, Hayes said. EnviroTurf will assist with raising the necessary funds by soliciting national, regional and local sponsors. Hayes said the ASEF is also accepting tax-deductible donations for anyone interested in supporting this improvement.

“Our first step was to raise $10,000 though individual and community efforts to show EnviroTurf we are committed,” Hayes said. “Once the contract is signed, they will begin the next level of fundraising.”

Hayes said depending on the level of development, the project will cost between $1.5 to $3 million. Visit the foundation’s website, www.ASEF09.webs.com, for updates on the Alabaster Sports and Entertainment Foundation, project progress and information on how you can support this project.

Thompson High School Booster Club President Ched Burton said the public is invited to attend the contract signing ceremony Friday.