Emily Douglas Amphitheater grand opening celebrated
Hand Middle School needed an outdoor amphitheater to host school plays, school orchestra concerts, and similar educational activities. As a result, the Hand Educational Foundation entered into discussions with the City of Columbia about the possible use of Emily Douglas Park, just across from Hand Middle School, as a site for the new amphitheater.
The land was prepared by Ken Simmons and Associates, which included renovation of the community center and park grounds.
Emily Douglas Park was named for Shandon figure, Emily Douglas (1879–1963). Douglas was a graduate of Columbia College and became a music teacher. During the Depression she went to work with the WPA and helped to develop Shandon Park, later changed to Emily Douglas Park in her honor.
Speakers at the grand opening celebration of the amphitheater included The Honorable Robert D. Coble, mayor of the City of Columbia, who served as moderator and gave the opening greeting. The Reverend Colé Weathers, associate pastor at Bethel AME Church, gave the invocation. Other speakers included Belinda Gergel, PhD, Columbia City Council, District III; James E. Smith Jr., S.C. House of Representatives, District 7; Marisa Vickers, principal of Hand Middle School; Terry Sharpe and Lynn Murray, co–chairs of Hand Educational Foundation; and Jack Myrick, president of the Shandon Neighborhood Council.
Hand Middle School TRI–M provided music.
The City is responsible for scheduling amphitheater events, as well as maintenance. During the school year, Hand Middle School will use the amphitheater for school related concerts, theater productions, lectures, class, and other activities.