DOWNTOWN MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- Inside Barton Academy, the final preparations are underway.
As teachers, like William Edmonds prepare for the start of the year in a brand-new school.
“Excited is an understatement,” he said. “It is an amazing opportunity of a mix of old and new coming together for a new tradition in Mobile with students.”
Edmonds currently teaches French, but before that he was a banker. He applied to work at Mobile County Public Schools more than 20 years ago in the very building he will now teach in.
“I left regions bank one day and crossed Bienville Square and came to Barton Academy and picked up an application, it was then Central Office at the time and I never knew I’d come full circle back to Barton academy one of these days,” he said.
The building just underwent a $14 million renovation. The community donating the money to make this historic white building on Government Street a place for learning once again.
Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies will focus on global studies and entrepreneurship taught in a 21st century way which teachers believe will benefit students.
“The opportunities they’re going to have at this school is pretty amazing, the technological advances,” Edmonds said.
The magnet school is focusing heavily on collaboration between students.
Barton Academy is a middle school for 6-9th grade students.
Principal Dr. Amanda Jones says it will truly be a 21st century school.
“We have multiple areas in the school that is very unique, many collaborative spaces,” she said. “We have a stem lab with robotics and 3D printing, we have multiple computer labs.”
For many of the teachers this opportunity to work at Barton is a big one and they cannot wait for the students to make it complete.
“These students have chosen to come here, I know they’re excited about the building and seeing it, it will make for a pretty fantastic start to the school year,” Edmonds said.
Students got to see the building on Thursday for a meet the teacher event. School kicks off next Wednesday.