Posted on November 8, 2023
Dredging and beach fill operations, part of the 2023 Engineered Beach Renourishment Project for the cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Ala., as well as Gulf State Park, got under way Oct. 30 along the 900 block of West Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores.
The beach restoration in these communities was originally constructed between 2001 and 2005.
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company LLC in Houston was on hand to begin bringing sand to the East Beach Gulf Shores segment of the project through its offshore dredging operations.
The work will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the project is complete to restore the shoreline following damage from Hurricanes Nate and Sally over the last few years, according to a news release on the City of Orange Beach website.
Olsen Associates Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla. coastal engineering consultant, serves as the project’s engineer of record.
In total, the beach renourishment effort will place more than 2 million cu. yds. of sand along five segments of the shoreline from Laguna Key westward to the Alabama-Florida state line on Perdido Key. The project is expected to last through February 2024.
Weather permitting, sand renourishment will begin in Orange Beach, along the Gulf Coast, in early January.
Olsen Associates created an information and status update website for the beach renourishment at www.olsen-associates.com/gsob/.
City Also Approves Building New School Athletic Complex
Earlier in October, the Orange Beach City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the construction of a new athletic complex on the Orange Beach Middle and High School (OBMHS) campus.
Just days before, the city’s Board of Education awarded a $46.1 million contract to Pensacola, Fla.-based Bear Construction to build the new facilities.
The athletic complex is designed to serve the two schools for the next century, according to a news release from the city. It will include a gymnasium, multi-sport pavilion, kinesiology and exercise science building, fields for track, soccer, and football, each with grandstands, and other support facilities.
The gymnasium at OBMHS is planned to seat 1,200 spectators for numerous academic and athletic activities. Extracurricular activities, such as volleyball, basketball and wrestling, will beneﬁt from the new facility. The center-hung video boards will be operated by students, providing hands-on learning opportunities for those interested in television production and digital media.
The schools’ two-story kinesiology and exercise science building will consist of classroom and meeting spaces, strength and conditioning facilities, a physical therapy room, cheerleading, wrestling and football locker rooms, practice areas for wrestlers and cheerleaders as well as coaching cubicles and ofﬁces.
Additionally, the building will provide learning opportunities for students pursuing careers in health sciences and physical education via an 80-seat theatre-style space that can be used as two classrooms, and a sports-medicine rehabilitation center for student trainers to gain experience in working with a hydrocollator and have access to an ice machine, six exam tables and two rehabilitation and recovery plunge pools.
Each student-athlete from the two schools will also be able to utilize an ultramodern strength and conditioning facility inside the structure.
New Facilities Likely to Benefit Eight in 10 Students
Outdoors, a new eight-lane track will encircle the turfed soccer/football ﬁeld and contain space for athletes to practice for and compete in high jump, long jump, pole vault, javelin and discus events.
The OBMHS stadium’s LED-lighted grandstand will seat 3,500 spectators, utilize a large Jumbo-Tron video board, and provide updated restrooms and concession areas, the city of Orange Beach noted.
The proposed multi-purpose pavilion will be used for academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. During inclement weather, the turfed surface is designed to be utilized by various organizations. Its dimensions are 150 ft. by 200 ft., with a 60 ft. apex.
If the new athletic complex were in use today, the city said, approximately 80 percent of all students at the middle and high schools would directly beneﬁt from it. There are more than 400 student-athletes who need adequate practice, storage and locker room spaces.
Currently, cheerleaders and wrestling teams practice off campus, strength and conditioning classes are conducted in a storage unit facility, no track facilities are available, and seven basketball teams and ﬁve volleyball teams use a single court.
A number of events will be held in the new complex, including band festivals, philanthropic events, 7-on-7 camps, basketball and volleyball tournaments, and track and wrestling meets, all of which should boost the local Orange Beach economy.
Construction is set to start in November; city officials estimate the athletic complex will be completed by May 30, 2025.