Demopolis to be the site for Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences
Published 4:58 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023
In her State of the State address on Tuesday, March 7, Gov. Kay Ivey revealed plans that the state is opening the new Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis. Ivey said the new healthcare high school will focus on training students to address the worker shortage in the medical field.
“This new healthcare high school will offer an innovative curriculum for 9th through 12th graders, exposing them to a diversity of STEM and healthcare opportunities, as well as hands-on clinical training experiences,” said Ivey. “When these students receive their diplomas, they will be ready to fill a broad spectrum of healthcare jobs or pursue a higher education.”
The school will be a live-on campus school like the Alabama Math and Science in Mobile and the School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Demopolis Mayor Woody Collins said that if everything goes through the legislature as it is proposed, the school will be placed in the New Era building at 918 South Cedar Street behind Whitfield Regional Hospital. Its proximity to the hospital will allow students to shadow hospital staff.
“As happy as I am for the community, I am so proud of the governor’s vision and that she understands the need for health care,” said Collins. “We’re seeing this influx of people coming out of the urban areas and it’s putting a strain on health care. I give the governor a lot of credit for understanding that.”
Collins said conversation about the school began shortly after he was elected mayor. He said the project “is a done deal” but that he is waiting to “see a rubber stamp from the legislature.”
The school coming to Demopolis will only be the fourth one like it in Alabama. The other schools are the Alabama Math and Science school in Mobile, the School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and the Aerospace and Technology school in Huntsville.
“It’s pretty cool that you can say Mobile, Birmingham, Huntsville, and Demopolis. We are in some really elaborate company and I am so excited for it.”
Whitfield Regional Hospital CEO/Administrator Doug Brewer echoed Collins and expressed his excitement about Demopolis being the location the STEM school.
“I am very excited about it. For me, it’s incredibly rewarding to see that the governor had enough foresight to bring this school to the Black Belt. We have some of the highest rates of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity not just in our state, but in the country,” said Brewer. “This recognition by the governor that we have to stop that cycle. We have to put resources back into the Black Belt and treat it like we do the rest of the state if we’re ever going to break that cycle. We have to break that cycle to inspire the best and the brightest to want to work in rural areas.”
Brewer said having the school in Demopolis is extremely important as it is a statewide resource.
“To have it located in Demopolis and in Marengo County is an opportunity for us to grow our community and to put Demopolis on the map,” said Brewer.
Brewer said the school will have up 400 “of the smartest kids in the state” who will likely bring their families with them who will enter the workforce and public school system.
“When those parents come that is going to create more professionals for industry. So I think it’s a big deal and it’s a great opportunity for Demopolis to create more industry and growth that will benefit the community,” said Brewer.
Funding for the project has not yet been approved, so there is no construction date.