ALABASTER, AL (WBRC) - "Now we'll have a high school that reflects the quality of what we're doing". That statement from Alabaster schools superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. Dr. Vickers gave me a personal tour of the new Thompson high school in Alabaster and let me tell you something. This place will be amazing. I even joked I wish I had been born 20 years later.
Dr. Vickers became superintendent in 2013 and he says this school has been a top priority. Now, hopefully, they are just a month away from moving in. The plan is to move in over the holiday break and have the school open to students when they return after the new year. There's still a lot to do in just a short amount of time. Workers are on site around the clock trying to put the finishing touches on the complex.
The design of the new facility came with student movement in mind. Large hallways, lots of collaborative spaces for the students to work together, and enough built in technology to last years.
How big is it? Really big. It's 360,000 square feet. It was built to house over 2,000 students. The old school was built in 1986 for just 750 students. That's just the academic part of the campus though. What about athletics?
There will also be a new football stadium that will seat over 5,500, a new baseball and softball complex, a soccer field, the first ever track in Thompson high school history, and a putting green for the golf team. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There will also be a 40 yard indoor facility with fieldhouse and lockerrooms.
"It's an exciting time to be a warrior. The students aren't only excited about being in a new facility, they're excited about being in a facility that's designed for them," Dr. Vickers says.
According to Dr. Vickers the main focus is to make sure all of the students connect to something. "If they connect to something in high school there's a much better chance they'll finish with a purpose," Vickers says. "If they finish with a purpose they'll be a part of this city and this state and they'll be great citizens."
So how did the city pay for this? Dr. Vickers says it was funded through a bond issue. The price tag? $68 million for the school and another $19 million for the athletics facilities.
As for the old school it will be retro-fitted for two schools. There will be a 6th grade center and a 7th and 8th grade middle school.
"We think this is a step in the right direction," Vickers says. "Our goal is to do it the right way so we're proud of it thirty years from now."