ACS sets opening date for new high school

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City School System has received its certificate of occupancy for the new Thompson High School building, and has set the move-in and community open house dates, school system leaders announced on Feb. 12.

The state building inspector granted the new school its certificate of occupancy on Feb. 9, paving the way for THS students and teachers to make the move from the current campus to the new one over the next few weeks.

The Lambert Transfer and Storage company will work to move items from the current THS campus to the new one over the three-day Presidents Day weekend Feb. 17-19, and students will begin attending classes at the new school on Monday, Feb. 26, the city’s Board of Education said during a Feb. 12 meeting.

“We can’t wait for the Alabaster community to experience the all-new Thompson High School. This campus puts Alabaster at the highest level of public education in our state and even our region,” said Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. “In all aspects of academics and athletics, the children of Alabaster will have the facilities and resources they need to excel in the world of tomorrow. Our motto is ‘Champions of our Future,’ and Thompson High School will be the home of champions for generations to come.”

The new THS originally was set to open to students when they returned from the Christmas break on Jan. 4, but the school did not yet have its certificate of occupancy at the time.

The 1,009-seat performing arts auditorium, indoor arena and sports facilities will not be completed when students begin attending the school, and construction workers will enter the campus from the Kent Dairy Road entrance, will use a separate parking area and will be segregated from the students until those areas are completed.

Alabaster School Board President Adam Moseley said the school system is encouraging students and teachers to enter the new THS campus from the Thompson Road side, as the Kent Dairy Road entrance is still being used as a construction entrance. As with all schools in the city, an Alabaster police officer will direct traffic into and out of the school each day.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, ACS will have an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new school campus, which is at 1921 Warrior Parkway. The open house for ACS employees will begin at 11 a.m., while the ribbon cutting and community open house will begin at noon.

Highlights of the new building include the cafeteria, which will be able to seat 625 students in a variety of booth, high-top and restaurant-style tables. The media center is next to the cafeteria, and both it and the cafeteria look out into the school’s central courtyard.

The school’s bandroom is significantly larger than the bandroom at the current THS, and includes several separate practice rooms, a jazz and string practice room, offices for the band director and assistant band director and significantly more storage room than the current bandroom.

An area in the central part of the academic building will serve students with significant special needs, and includes a sensory room, a separate restroom and laundry area and a room set up like a traditional home designed to help students hone their life skills.

The athletic facilities will open in late spring, and will include five multipurpose practice fields, six tennis courts, a 5,293-seat football and soccer stadium, baseball and softball stadiums. The baseball and softball teams each will have their own field houses, and a 27,000-square-foot filed house will serve football, soccer, track and tennis teams. The athletic area also will 30,000-square-foot indoor multipurpose practice and weight training facility.

The Shelby County Commission is partnering with ACS to provide upgrades to the THS track and field complex, including a 444-seat bleacher, upgraded lighting, a restroom-concession stand building and official time recording at sanctioned events.