No Place Like Home As Woodlawn High Breaks Ground For New, On-Campus Football Stadium


Solomon Crenshaw Jr., BirminghamWatch

Home games will truly be home games in the near future for the Woodlawn High School football team, following a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday for a new, on-campus stadium at the historic Birmingham school.

“This right here is instrumental for our student-athletes, and our community, to have our own home field right here on our campus,” Principal Terrell Brown said. “We’re going to continue the tradition that has been started from many great athletes.”

Architects say construction will start this fall, and the stadium is expected to be ready for the 2022 football season. It is designed to accommodate more than 2,800 spectators, and it will include an artificial turf athletic field, renovated field house and a stadium lighting and sound system.

The Birmingham Board of Education approved the project in March at an estimated cost of $5.5 million. Architect Charles Williams cited the instrumental role Brown played in the project.

“In order for the project to even go, they needed more parking spaces,” Williams said. “He went out and secured 200 parking spaces from around the community. That’s a great thing. Without that, you could not have the seating capacity you have right now.”

Football coach Gentrell Eatman said the stadium gives athletes and their fans something to call their own.

“When they get ready to have homecoming, they can come back here to the school where they can say, ‘This is where I went’ … instead of having to go to a neutral field,” he said. “As a football team, it always felt like it was a road game for us because we always had to hop on the bus to even just go two or three miles.”

Woodlawn, like Ramsay on Birmingham’s Southside, missed out on getting an on-campus stadium when other high schools in the city system were getting them. A previous board of education said the east Birmingham school is close enough to Lawson Field on Oporto Madrid Boulevard that it didn’t need its own stadium.

Brown said he’s been asking for a stadium for Woodlawn for years. Former Colonels linebacker Karlos Dansby, who went on to play at Auburn University and in the National Football League, has been part of that clarion call.

“We’ve got a place we can hang banners,” Dansby said. “We’ve got a place we can retire jerseys. We have a lot of legends that didn’t make it to the level I made it to, but they are still legends in the community. The opportunity for them to be able to have somewhere to come home to is tremendous, paramount.”

Birmingham Superintendent Mark Sullivan expressed pride in being superintendent during the groundbreaking. He said he’s also proud to be a graduate of Woodlawn High School.

“This day is a long time coming,” he said. “We in Birmingham City Schools are going to be your first choice in education. In order for us to do that, we have to ensure that our academics are first-rate, but we also have to ensure that our facilities are too.”


Birmingham mayor proposes largest city budget ever

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin introduced a $517 million budget proposal, the largest in city history, during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

‘Better isn’t good enough’: Starbucks workers in Birmingham, New Orleans discuss unionizing

Starbucks stores in Birmingham and New Orleans could be the next to unionize. Those leading the efforts sit down to discuss why and what they've learned so far.

WBHM to launch podcast featuring in-depth reporting on Alabama’s prisons.

WBHM 90.3 FM is launching a podcast, “Deliberate Indifference: the story of Alabama’s prison crisis and the people inside it,” the product of reporter Mary Scott Hodgin’s in-depth research on Alabama’s prisons. The first episode will be available Wednesday, May 18. Listen at or wherever podcasts are available.

Judge’s ruling a “sigh of relief” for families of transgender youth

A federal judge in Alabama ruled to block part of a law that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to minors on Friday. Families with transgender kids tell WBHM they are cautiously relieved.

Transgender medication law in Alabama blocked by judge

The law made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors. U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the medication ban, which took effect May 8, while a court challenge goes forward.

JeffCo Probate Judge: tightened security will delay voting returns in the primaries

Jefferson County’s chief election official is warning that a new voting security measure will delay returns from the May 24 primary elections.

More BirminghamWatch Coverage