City of Birmingham

BJCC Will Open as Warming Station Thursday and Friday

The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex will open to the public as a warming station Thursday and Friday, when the temperatures are forecast to fall into the 20s, the city of Birmingham announced Wednesday.

The announcement came after the city faced criticism for not opening Boutwell Auditorium earlier this week as snow fell and temperatures dipped below freezing. Mayor Randall Woodfin in a statement said Boutwell Auditorium was “unavailable,” although the city has not revealed why.

The South Exhibition Hall at the BJCC, at 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd, will be open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. If the current forecast of freezing temperatures holds, a warming station also will open Monday and Tuesday, according to the city’s statement.

People who need shelter also may reach out to agencies under the One Roof nonprofit, which coordinates care for the homeless in the city. Those include the Salvation Army, at 2015 26th Ave. North; the Firehouse Shelter, for men, at 626 Second Ave. North; and First Light, for women, at 2230 Fourth Ave. North.

Bottled water and individually packaged snacks are needed for those who seek shelter. You can drop items off in front of the Boutwell Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Thursday and Friday, the city said in Wednesday’s statement. Officials asked for donors not to drop off clothing.

The mayor in his earlier statement had referred people to those shelters while Boutwell was unavailable and said the city has been offering cots, food and masks and other protective gear to the emergency shelters.