Alabaster schools seeing drainage fixes

Crews work to construct a new berm to improve drainage between Thompson High School and the Southwind neighborhood on July 2. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Crews work to construct a new berm to improve drainage between Thompson High School and the Southwind neighborhood on July 2. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Teachers at Alabaster’s Thompson Intermediate School will no longer have to sweat every time a heavy rain rolls through the city, as the Alabaster School System recently completed drainage improvements in the area.

“Lake Thompson is not open for bass fishing, hopefully ever again,” ACS Operations Manager Jeff Atkins said with a laugh during a July 2 interview. “It’s already draining better, which is a big fix. Now, those teachers parked back there won’t have to worry.”

Before the drainage fixes, the parking lot behind TIS frequently flooded during heavy rains, which caused many in the community to dub the lot “Lake Thompson.” Through a project to improve nearby Larry Simmons Stadium and the area surrounding it, ACS is working on ways to improve drainage and draw water away from the stadium and TIS campus.

This summer, the school system also funded a project to improve drainage at Thompson High School and prevent water from inundating the Southwind neighborhood next to the THS campus.

On July 2, Atkins said crews were making the final touches on the project, and said it will be completed “in about a week or so.”

Through the project, crews have added a larger earthen berm between the band practice field and houses on Caribbean Circle, and have made other drainage improvements to combat the problem.

Over the years, additions built onto THS have removed grassy areas around the school, which has led to drainage problems. On two instances in July 2012, heavy rains pooled in the THS back parking lot, flowed down an outdoor stairwell and flooded the school’s basement locker room.

Before Alabaster separated from the Shelby County School System in July 2013, the Shelby County School System made upgrades to the area surrounding the outdoor stairwell. As a result of the upgrades, flooding in the lower locker room is “not an issue” anymore, Atkins said.