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Lions Park: Architecture students transforming a community

Lions Park was the largest shared space for a community of about 2,400.

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November 08, 2016 |

Lions Park is a 40-acre space at the southern edge of the rural Alabama town of Greensboro. Ten years ago, it consisted of little more than a few frequently flooded baseball diamonds and a huge expanse of featureless, shadeless ground baking in the relentless summer sun.

Still, it was the largest shared space for this community of about 2,400 – a place that belonged to people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. And they deserved a welcoming park with something for everyone to enjoy. For the last ten years, hanging out at the park has provided an opportunity to witness a remarkable community transformation that has now come to fruition. Thanks in part to materials donated by ALPOLIC, the Lions Park Shade project will hold its grand opening on November 12. 

Rural Studio: A Hale County Love Story

Rural Studio is an undergraduate program of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Auburn University. Since 1993, Rural Studio has educated more than 600 “Citizen Architects” working in small teams to build more than 150 projects designed to improve and connect the lives of people living in rural Hale County.

Relief from the Summer Sun

Until now, there has been very little shade in the park beyond a narrow band of mature trees bordering the lake. In the heat of an Alabama summer, shade can make the difference between enjoying the park or staying home with the AC on. To address that need, the Lions Park Shade project was recently completed.

The four-person team has created intriguing canopy designs to shade three key areas of the park, from the pick-up and drop-off location to spaces for relaxing, reading and picnicking. More than simply giving relief from the sun, the canopies are designed to offer an ever-changing perspective on the sky and surroundings. The iterative process of envisioning and realizing the canopy design is documented on the Rural Studio blog, and it’s a fascinating journey to follow.

Prototypes were fabricated and color tests made using ALPOLIC® materials. The final installation will incorporate ALPOLIC® ACM with a Lumiflon® FEVE resin-based finish by Valspar in a color custom-matched to the team’s precise choice of blue.

Altech Panel Systems is also providing its services to fabricate panels for the project, which will greatly simplify the students’ work when the time comes to build the shade canopies they’ve worked so hard to perfect. This summer, the students had an opportunity to tour Altech’s Cartersville, Georgia facility, meet the Altech team, learn about the fabrication process and work out details of design and scheduling.

We’re Proud to Be There

The new Lions Park Shade project is the culmination of ten years of design work and physical labor donated to the people of Greensboro. Along with Altech and SAF, we’re honored to be partners in helping these brilliant young people create their first extraordinary project.


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