The Selma Riverfront Amphitheater looks much different than it did two months ago when construction first began in remodeling the old historical building. Today the construction is still in phase one, but a large concrete block has been removed to expose the brick facade of the building and its archways.

Amphitheater has visible changes, new look

Published 4:17pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pulling up to the Selma Riverfront Amphitheater off of Water Avenue, the construction underway may have some of the River Walk Trail blocked off, but the progress is visible.

Currently, the construction is still in phase one of a three-phase plan. The plan includes constructing and laying a firewall, putting in seats and at some point the two-story walls of the amphitheater. As part of phase one, the construction company, Frasier Ousley of Selma, is focusing their attention on working out small issues.

“We are right on schedule so far since we have begun work with the amphitheater,” Charlotte Griffeth, director of planning and development for Selma said. “We are dealing with a historic building and any time we have some concerns we have to be very meticulous in the portion that we have done so far in removing the old roof and removing the non-contributing part of the building.”

The non-contributing part of the building that was removed was a large concrete block that Griffeth said was the first thing that was seen when looking at the old building. After its removal, large archways in a brick wall — the architectural features of the old building — are now exposed.

Griffeth said so far they have had several minor details that had to be worked out and some weather delays, but nothing big enough to move the progress off schedule.

“We have had some problems with some tree roots that have been growing in the south wall,” she said about some of the issues. “The contractor is addressing that along with the architect.”

All of the loose bricks in the building have been taken out and placed on a pallet so that they can be used throughout the project. Those bricks will be needed to shore the wall and repoint the existing brick on the façade.

Those utilizing the River Walk Park may have noticed a portion of the trail is blocked off. Griffeth said this would be the case until the trusses have been installed in the building due to liability of the city in a construction site.

As for putting in the trusses, the design for the new trusses has been approved by the architect, so now comes the task of getting the Alabama Historical Commission’s approval. Once that is done, the amphitheater should have new trusses being installed in four to six weeks.

“We are very excited about the progress on and along the riverfront and we will continue to keep the public updated on what is going on,” Griffeth said.

The entire amphitheater construction is projected to be completed by either late 2013 or January of 2014. It is part of a larger plan to develop on the riverfront and use Water Avenue as a draw for tourism.

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