County upgrades flood-prone area at THS

The Shelby County School System recently completed upgrades to Thompson High School after the school's weight and locker rooms flooded multiple times over the summer of 2012. (File)

The Shelby County School System recently completed upgrades to Thompson High School after the school’s weight and locker rooms flooded multiple times over the summer of 2012. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Construction crews are wrapping up a project designed to prevent flooding in the basement locker room at Alabaster’s Thompson High School, said Shelby County Schools Deputy Superintendent Tom Ferguson.

Over the past few months, crews have been modifying an outdoor stairwell into the locker room and ensuring drainage systems are functioning properly near the back side of the high school, Ferguson said.

“If the work is not already completed, it is very near completion,” Ferguson said on May 8.

During the project, the county added a concrete lip to the top of the outdoor concrete stairwell leading into the school’s basement locker and training rooms. The project also involved examining and cleaning out drainage pipes near the stairwell, Ferguson said.

“We reconstructed the stairwell to raise it up and take that part out of the (flooding) equation,” Ferguson said. “We also went in and scoped those pipes and made sure they were clear. We feel like we’ve addressed that issue.”

Between July 9-31, 2012, the weight and locker rooms, which are located on the northwest corner of the school, flooded three times. Each time the facility flooded, Alabaster received several inches of rainfall in just a few hours.

Each time the school flooded over the summer, rain waters overwhelmed a flood drain near the school’s back parking lot and eventually flowed down an outdoor concrete staircase and into the basement weight and locker rooms.

The flooding incidents damaged carpet, equipment and teachers’ materials in the facility, which was undergoing a student-led renovation when the first flood occurred.

During the first flooding incident, water reached more than 10 feet deep in the stairwell before bursting open a metal door leading into the weight room.

Ferguson said the school saw multiple “100-year rainfalls” during the summer, which contributed to the rapid flooding incidents.

Although Alabaster is working to separate from the Shelby County School System this July, Shelby County School Board officials previously said the county school system would fund the upgrades to the outdoor stairwell at THS.