Baldwin Prep Academy breaks ground

By Jessica Vaughn
Education Editor
jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/22/22

LOXLEY — Heavy rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the crowd that gathered under a large tent on Thursday, Aug. 18, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the future Baldwin Preparatory …

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Baldwin Prep Academy breaks ground

Posted

LOXLEY — Heavy rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the crowd that gathered under a large tent on Thursday, Aug. 18, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the future Baldwin Preparatory Academy.

Details: The $73 million high school will combine academics and real life, on-the-job experiences for students in the career field of their choice. The state-of-the-art technical school, located in Loxley along Highway 59 on approximately 70 acres, will be the first of its kind in Alabama. It is the culmination of years of planning and partnerships to help address growing demands on the local workforce. Graduates of Baldwin Prep will be prepared for college, a career, or whatever path life takes them on.

"This will be a game-changer for Baldwin County; for our students, for our schools and for the health of Baldwin County, for business and industry," said Eddie Tyler, system superintendent. "All we've heard about for years is workforce is aging, somebody's got to do something about it. Well, Baldwin County is stepping up in a big way and doing something about it."

Unique features: Beginning in 10th grade, students who apply and are accepted will leave their feeder pattern high school and transition into Baldwin Prep to finish their high school education. Students will receive their core classes along with on-the-job training in the industry of their choice. Instead of a traditional school day, the new campus will be designed to simulate going to work in industry. Unique features students of Baldwin Prep will experience include:

• Clocking in and out upon entering or exiting the facility

• Wearing industry recognized uniforms based on their program pathway
• Participating in weekly team meetings
• Utilizing multiple collaboration spaces and POD learning spaces
• Attending meetings and demonstrations with industry stakeholders on campus
• Learning core classes in an applied manner, relating the subject materials to industry and careers
• The ability to return to their feeder schools after school to participate in band, sports, etc.

"All industry is saying, 'we need qualified workforce,' and this school system is putting almost 800 kids directly into the workforce every year," Lee Lawson, president, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, said. "From an economic development standpoint, this facility will be a piece of how we show not only the existing companies that we value workforce in our community, but new companies that came to our community and found it because we showed them a way that we're growing and filling the workforce pipeline."

School offerings: Programs of study that will be available at Baldwin Prep are:

• Health sciences
• Automotive technology

• Cyber security
• Culinary arts
• Engineering
• Cosmetology
• Construction
• Welding
• Graphic Design
• HVAC
• Teaching
• Aviation
• Logistics

College. Career. Choice: "We've realized that not every student needs to go to college," Shannon Cauley, BCBE president, said. "Many students can be successful and support their families and live a very comfortable life without having a college degree. We need to focus on every student, on their individual needs, and sometimes going into the workforce is exactly what that student needs to be successful. Baldwin Prep will be preparing students for life, for success after school, to be productive members of society, to secure good paying jobs and to contribute to our local economy."
Tyler said, "If we aren't educating our children, whether it's career or college ready, then we're failing. But we're doing that."
Baldwin Preparatory Academy is expected to open doors to students in the fall of 2024. Current seventh and eighth graders will be the first classes entering into the new high school based on current construction timelines.
For more information about Baldwin Preparatory Academy, visit www.baldwinprep.com.

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