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ACS announces new "ACS Champions Craft Academy"

11 MARCH 2024
By: Jason Gaston, APR
ACS Communications

ALABASTER - Alabaster City Schools (ACS) will soon begin building out its new ACS Champions Craft Academy - a state-of-the-art workforce development facility that will provide in-demand, lucrative career pathways for ACS students. 

Building Construction, HVAC, Welding, and Mechatronics (formerly known as Industrial Maintenance) will form the first set of career academies slated to be housed in the new ACS Champions Craft Academy when the 2025-2026 School Year begins. The multi million-dollar investment, located in the former Winn-Dixie/Restore property on Highway 119 in the heart of Alabaster, has been an integral part of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers’ long-range capital and strategic planning. 

“I am very excited to announce that we have acquired this facility and will soon begin transforming it into a high-tech workforce development career center in which our students can learn the very latest in high-demand fields right here in Alabaster,” Dr. Vickers said. “We have always offered pathways for all students. The new craft academy, however, will take us to the next level and continue to expand and evolve in concert with industry standards and provide this pathway within our city limits.”

Currently, ACS transports skilled trades students to Birmingham’s Academy for Craft Training (ACT), a 45-minute one-way bus ride. Alabaster’s newest educational facility will negate the need for this travel. Removing this time barrier will free up students’ school schedules for additional electives and extracurricular activities. 

For years, local, state, and national data have shown critical shortages of skilled workers across many sectors. The ACS Champions Craft Academy will work toward addressing those gaps. ACS Board of Education President Mr. Adam Moseley and indeed all ACS board members have been key proponents of this project from its inception and applaud Dr. Vickers’ efforts to realize this dream. 

“The ACS Champions Craft Academy will be a crowning achievement for Alabaster City Schools,” Moseley said. “The Board of Education has always had its eye on such a facility, knowing that more and more students seek career pathways immediately following graduation. This will be a great opportunity to partner with regional industry leaders and train students locally.”

For parents and city leaders like Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield, the ACS Champions Craft Academy is truly a win-win.

“What an exciting advancement for ACS, our students and our community,” Mayor Brakefield said. “Workforce development is a crucial pathway for our city, state and country. As a proud father of a child taking this path to a career, I couldn’t be more excited to see our school system continuing to invest in our students’ futures. It will be an incredible offering for our students to stay local for this skill development rather than having to travel outside our city.”

According to Superintendent Dr. Vickers, ACS acquired this facility for $1.96 million dollars. At 48,000 square feet, the purchase comes to an enviable $41 per square foot. In addition to housing workforce development programs, the ACS Champions Career Academy will be the new space for the system’s ACES/Alternative School and will feature a large modular meeting space, training classrooms, office space, and more. 

Future plans of the ACS Champions Craft Academy call for additional workforce development programs including Electrical and Auto Body Repair. ACS will be providing further updates - including enrollment options - as additional plans for the new ACS Champions Craft Academy take shape.

See coverage from the Shelby County Reporter