Alabaster BOE OKs turf field, stadium upgrades
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
Thompson Warrior fans and athletes will see several upgrades, including a turf field and a new field house, before the 2014 football season starts after the city’s School Board approved the project during its April 14 meeting.
The School Board voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the Volkert engineering firm to move forward on the project at Larry Simmons Stadium. The stadium, which is behind Thompson Intermediate School off Thompson Road, serves as Alabaster schools’ primary athletic facility for football, soccer and track and field.
“It is something that is very much needed in our city and in our school system,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said during the meeting.
The School Board’s approval came four days after the board discussed the project during a work session. During the work session, project manager Seawell McKee with the McKee and Associates architectural firm gave School Board members a rundown of the stadium upgrades.
If approved, the project will add a synthetic turf field in place of the natural grass field currently at the stadium.
The project also calls for removal of the current press box on the visitors’ side and the construction of a new five-room press box above the home stands, which is the side closest to Thompson Road.
The project also includes seal coating and restriping the asphalt track, reconstructing track accessories such as the long jump pad and improving the stadium’s drainage.
The project also calls for repainting the field house, adding bricks around the steel columns on the outside of the field house and adding a dedicated sports medicine training room.
A new scoreboard, 25-second clock and goal posts also will be installed on the football field.
Alabaster is preparing to build a new high school and athletic complex within the next few years. When THS moves into its new athletic facility, Larry Simmons Stadium likely will serve as the Thompson Middle School stadium and will be available for special events.
Vickers previously said the project’s final cost will be determined by bid amounts, but said it likely will not top $1 million.