The 25,440 square-foot academy includes a 19,800-square-foot theater and 6,250 square feet of classrooms and administrative space – an increase of approximately 7,000 square feet when compared to the previous facility. Where the old technical center could accommodate just over 200 students, the new College and Career Academy is expected to have 300 students on campus. The Board of Education has purchased 10 additional acres adjacent to the facility to use for parking.
There will be an increase in more than just the number of students, Pickens says. With the increase in space and the upgraded facility, the number of classes offered has increased, as well. “We’ll now be offering hospitality and tourism, culinary arts, drama, industrial maintenance, and of course, the STEM program,” Pickens says.
The additions to the program allows students greater flexibility in choosing a path once they exit the system, as the College and Career Academy offers programs that enable students to be prepared for college, the military or the workforce.
At the facility’s ribbon cutting ceremony, Chamber of Commerce West Alabama President and CEO Jim Page applauded the Board of Education’s efforts, noting the facility would be a great asset to the region. “Creating a qualified workforce is a number one priority,” he says.