New amphitheater going up

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

Passersby can now see visible evidence of what will become Florala State Park’s new amphitheater and community center.

Thursday, members of the Air Force’s Innovative Response Team (IRT) were busy erecting the metal corner posts of the new building.

W.H. “Billy” McDaniel, project manager, said the bout of severe weather in March and April has made work “appear slow.”

“Actually we are about a week behind our set time line,” McDaniel said. “That’s due to 52 inches of rain (received) in 30 days. (Residents) will see a big change this week when we pour the slab and start going up with metal structure.”

Initially, the prefab building was set to arrive April 6, but delivery was put off to repair storm damage. Works spent the majority of their time hauling in dirt to fill the washes and repacking the foundation site. For the last two weeks, IRT members have been getting ready for the foundation portion of the project.

McDaniel said the components of the structure were delivered earlier this week, and a new crew of steel workers, plumbers and electricians arrived Saturday.

“The progress will be amazing in the coming weeks,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time for Florala.”

In September 2008, the State Parks Joint Legislative Committee approved the $1 million Lake Jackson project to build a multi-purpose community building and amphitheater. The IRT program has committed an additional $1 million in labor and equipment.

The group, which consists of an estimated 30 workers from various Air Force bases around the country, began work in March and rotates through on a two-week cycle until the project is completed.

Before the delay, the project was slated for completion July 31.