Calera athletic facilities taking shape this summer

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

CALERA — New and improved athletic facilities that will benefit both Calera schools and the overall community are taking shape this summer.

Perhaps the most obvious change is the addition of new stands to the east side of the field at Ricky M. Cairns Stadium off Alabama 25.

The aluminum bleachers cost an estimated $500,000 and are expected to be complete within the next three weeks, according to Calera Parks and Recreation Director Seth Gandy. The project, which is a partnership between the city and the Shelby County Board of Education, is being done in anticipation of future growth.

“These bleachers will allow us to be compliant with the Alabama High School Athletic Association as far as the number of seats necessary to host a 7A playoff,” Gandy said. “While we are 6A, we wanted to go ahead and be prepared to be 7A one day. The city is always looking for more ways to upgrade our facilities and enhance our current facilities, as well as provide ways for new services that we don’t currently have.”

Also, a new track and field facility is under construction on property adjacent to Calera High School. It will sport a rubberized legal track and field surface surrounding a multi-use inner field.

Gandy said the school’s track and field team did not currently have a practice facility and had been traveling to the University of Montevallo for some practices.

“We felt like it was something that we needed to provide to the community,” he said. “We hope it will be completed by the end of the summer, weather pending.”

The approximately $2 million project is funded by the city of Calera and the Shelby County Commission, with the Commission covering the lighting system. The city is working with Cofton General Contractors and Wayne Davis Construction on the project.

As of July 7, workers were in the process of grading the track with a gravel base. Once that step is complete, they will install the track layers and the finishing coat, Gandy said.

“We plan to host track and field events, any track and field club or organization within our city,” he said, adding that the track will not be open to the public for general use.

Efforts are also in the works to construct a new football locker room and weight room as well as a new locker room to be utilized for baseball, softball and soccer. The former will be located across the street from the track and field facility, and the latter will be based at the three-field complex.

A slab and plumbing work are already in place for the baseball, softball and soccer locker room. Gandy said the goal is to have that building finished in time for sports in the spring of 2022.

“It’s taking a while to get material in—steel material. That’s kind of been the delay right now,” Gandy said.