THS stadium upgrades, drainage fixes ready to begin

Several upgrades to Larry Simmons Stadium, including a turf field and new pressbox, will be completed before the school's first home game on Sept. 19. (File)

Several upgrades to Larry Simmons Stadium, including a turf field and new pressbox, will be completed before the school’s first home game on Sept. 19. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A pair of projects to upgrade Alabaster’s Larry Simmons Stadium and drainage near the stadium and at Thompson High School are ready to move forward after the Alabaster Board of Education hired firms to handle the projects during a May 7 meeting.

The School Board voted unanimously during the meeting to accept an about $1.4 million bid from the Bessemer-based Coston Contractors to make significant upgrades to the stadium.

School Board members also voted unanimously to accept a $48,500 bid from the Montevallo-based Concrete Repeat Construction company to make improvements to an existing water detention pond near the band practice field at THS.

Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said the detention pond project will be completed in a little more than a month, and is the first of multiple projects to address long-standing drainage problems at the school.

The project at Larry Simmons Stadium 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 will involve 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.

Stadium upgrades also include seal coating and restriping the asphalt track, reconstructing track accessories such as the long jump pad and improving the stadium’s drainage. The drainage improvements will help to eliminate “Lake Thompson” in Thompson Intermediate School’s back parking lot, which Vickers said frequently floods during heavy rainfalls.

“We know we will hopefully solve Lake Thompson and make a beautiful area right in the heart of Alabaster,” Vickers said of the stadium project, noting the upgrades will be complete before the first THS home football game in September.

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 will serve as the Thompson Middle School stadium and will be available for special events, Vickers said.