Ivey signs bill to create School of Healthcare Sciences

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey joined legislative, healthcare and education leaders from across Alabama for a ceremonial signing of H.B. 163, the legislation that creates the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences. The new residential high school will be built in Demopolis and will open in the fall of 2026.

“Establishing this specialty school here in Demopolis is no doubt the most significant investment in West Alabama in decades,” said Ivey. “But it’s much more than that. The Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences will help more Alabama students open the doors to their futures. It will bring more men and women in our healthcare workforce. It will change the trajectory of rural healthcare in our state.”

The event was a celebration of the Alabama Legislature’s approval of the school on May 2, but it was more a show of gratitude to the people in Demopolis and Marengo County who stood behind the project from the day it was announced.

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“What really made this project successful was you, the people of Demopolis,” said State Rep. Cynthia Almond. “Your community rallied together and made a showing of support that impacted the decision-makers in Montgomery. The hard work has paid off. Let’s get to work. Let’s build a first-class school so we can move Alabama forward.”

Rob Pearson, chair of the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences Foundation, the philanthropic organization formed to support the school, also urged the people of West Alabama to embrace the challenge ahead.

“This community has laid the foundation for success, and now the real challenge begins,” Pearson said. “The challenge of turning the old New Era plant into a completely new era of healthcare education. Of turning visions and concepts into graduates. Of making Demopolis known for being the home of the top healthcare high school in the nation. That effort starts here. Today.”

State Rep. A.J. McCampbell has every bit of confidence the school will be successful because of those who have supported the school.

“The people of Demopolis are a family that will bring these young people into their homes and feed them Sunday dinner,” McCampbell said. “We will be educating these children right here in Demopolis, and the whole nation will be watching to see what we’re doing.”

State Sen. Bobby Singleton, who faced the biggest challenge pushing the legislation through the Alabama Senate, praised Ivey for her commitment to rural Alabama.

“I’m a Democrat, and that young lady sitting on the end, who’s a Republican Governor, is one of my best friends in Montgomery,” Singleton said, listing off some of the important projects that have improved rural Alabama and the Black Belt. “The return on the investment of this school will be better than any economic development project in the next 50 years.”

After the event, Pearson looked ahead to what’s next in this project.

“I’ve said to a number of people that this is just the beginning,” Pearson said. “Our Foundation needs to form a full board. The school needs a Board of Trustees. We need to hire a superintendent. And we need to hire a staff that will develop a complete curriculum. We need to build a building.  It’s time to take this from concept to delivery.”