Alabaster approves new amphitheatre, senior center expansion

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Alabaster residents will enjoy a rejuvenated municipal area next year during the city’s Christmas celebrations after the construction of a new amphitheater and an expansion to the Alabaster Senior Activity Center.

The city of Alabaster approved a bid for its new amphitheatre and senior center expansion during a regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.

“It is incredibly exciting to finally have this project approved,” Mayor Scott Brakefield said. “We sought bids last (May) and only received one response and we felt it was too high. So, I am appreciative of our City Council for rejecting that bid and waiting a little while to go back to the market.”

This time, the city received five total bids and they were around $2 million less than the initial bid that was received last year.

“We scaled back some of the stonework, but the basic project was the same,” County Administrator Brian Binzer said. “A lot of the features were the same size, the senior center expansion was the same size. We took out some of the hardscapes like the sidewalks—they’re not as elaborate as they were back in May but overall, it was a little over $2 million in savings from one bid to the next and so I was pleased with the response.”

The Council awarded a bid of $4,725,100 to Clements Dean Building Company for construction of both upgrades to the municipal area.

“Clements Dean is a really good quality contractor, so we’re excited to continue to work with them,” Binzer said.

Both developments are set to begin sometime in January 2024 with the goal of opening in November before the city’s annual Christmas festivities.

“This new venue will be ideal for the events we already have here in Alabaster, and we are looking forward to what it can help us draw here,” Alabaster City Councilmember Jamie Cole said. “We’ve worked hard and spent years making sure we ‘spec’ the facility properly to fit the needs of events. And it will fit in beautifully with the landscape on the municipal green area.”

The new amphitheatre is also bolstered by a senior center expansion that was included in the same bid.

“We have a really high-demand senior center and there’s a lot of folks that come from all over to our senior center,” Binzer said. “You can never have enough space for something like that.”

The expansion will feature an open space with a front porch that will face the stage and benefit seniors with a new location for programs. The space will also provide a location for seniors or the public during the city’s annual events.

“Expanding the senior center will not only give our senior citizens some much-needed new room for activities, but will also provide multi-use facilities for events,” Cole said. “The views of the amphitheater from the new porch at the facility will be perfect.”

The area will help to service the various events that the city holds each year such as its annual water tower lighting ceremony.

“We’ve made creative arts a priority here in the last few years and a new venue like this will only expand those opportunities,” Cole said. “We want the community to use this new facility for their events, and we want to continue to add more to the event calendar at this new venue.”

The expansion of the senior center and the new amphitheatre benefitted from the city’s sales tax increase that was passed in February and is a part of the Alabaster Fast Forward program.

“This is another step in the process of building a ‘City Center’ area,” Brakefield said. “We continue to work on the Old Thompson and current (Alabaster City Schools) BOE campus as we prepare to build a new rec center, library and commercial development. We look forward to hosting outside music (and) entertainment events on the Municipal Green.  We are also excited to see the expansion of our Senior Center.”