Alabaster stadium upgrades on schedule

Crews work to install a new press box at Alabaster's Larry Simmons Stadium on Aug. 4. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Crews work to install a new press box at Alabaster’s Larry Simmons Stadium on Aug. 4. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A project to install a new turf field, renovate the field house and install a new press box at Alabaster’s Larry Simmons Stadium is on schedule, and likely will be ready for the first Thompson High School home varsity football game.

During an Aug. 1 special-called Board of Education meeting, Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said the project is “on schedule” despite weather setbacks over the past few months.

“We are hopeful that it will be ready in time for the first varsity home game,” Vickers said. “They’ve made a lot of progress on it.”

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

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.

Construction crews installed the press box on Aug. 5, and removed the old press box earlier in the summer.

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 – some of which have already been completed – will help to eliminate “Lake Thompson” in Thompson Intermediate School’s back parking lot, which Vickers said frequently floods during heavy rainfalls.

Alabaster is preparing to build a new high school and athletic complex off Thomson Road 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.