By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor; ALABASTER REPORTER
ALABASTER – The Thompson High School varsity football team will roll out the red carpet – or at least red end zones – as it hosts its first home game of the year against Hoover on Sept. 19.
Crews recently finished major upgrades at Larry Simmons Stadium off Thompson Road, and the stadium has already seen some football action over the past few weeks.
“We’ve had a middle school, junior varsity and ninth-grade game there already, and everything went great,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said on Sept. 11. “It was exciting to see the students out on that field the other day. There’s a lot of excitement, and there’s more to come.”
The Alabaster 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 added a synthetic turf field in place of the natural grass field previously at the stadium. The new field, which includes both soccer and football lines, features bright red end zones reading “Thompson” and “Warriors” and a red arrowhead logo at the center of the field.
The project also removed of the current press box on the visitors’ side and constructed 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.
Crews repainted the field house, added bricks around the steel columns on the outside of the field house and added a dedicated sports medicine training room. A new scoreboard, 25-second clock and goal posts also were installed on the football field.
Stadium upgrades also included 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 helped eliminate “Lake Thompson” in Thompson Intermediate School’s back parking lot, which Vickers said frequently flooded during heavy rainfalls.
The Thompson-Hoover varsity football game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19.