ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County school system leaders showed off what they're are calling a game-changer for South Georgia on Monday.
The doors to the first part of the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy opened for the first time today.
Also known as the 4-C Academy, the school is set to open in the fall.
State leaders say it will take some time, but the 4C Academy is going to help South Georgia's economy in big ways.
"It's a game changer. It's going to change the way that we educate our children," said State Representative Darrel Bush Ealum.
Administrators and community members cut the ribbon and opened the doors to the state-of-the-art facility for the first time on Monday.
Folks in South Georgia celebrated a new chapter in educating today's youth.
"It's great to be able to show them the building and get them excited about what we have seen grow for some time now," said CEO of the 4C Academy Chris Hatcher.
The school will house students from the 'move-on-when ready' programs at Dougherty, Calhoun, Terrell and Baker counties.
Students will be able to chose from 16 different career paths, including health care and education. Professionals in those career fields will teach the classes.
"They will be able to leave here with industry certified certificates and associates degrees upon completion," said Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.
Representative Ealum said it's been a project several years in the making.
"It's five years of consistent work and never giving up on a dream," explained Ealum.
Ealum was one of the people who proposed the academy when he served on the Dougherty County School Board.
"We saw all the excitement around the state, all of the other successful career academys and we thought hey, we can do that here," said Ealum.
More than 100 people from all over the state gathered to get a sneak peak of the academy, including Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.
"It's such an honor to see a community come out with such force," said Cagle when he looked into the crowd.
Cagle said the 4C Academy is going to help South Georgia's economy boom by better preparing students for the work force early.
"It truly will be an economic engine, partnering with the industry that currently exists but also the new industry that will come," explained Cagle.
Already more than 600 students have applied for the 500 spots at the school.
The second phase of construction is set to begin next week, after school lets out for the summer.
During the event on Monday, the chair of the 4C Academy Board presented Dougherty County Superintendent Dr. David Mosely and Albany Technical College President Dr. Anthony Parker with a plaque.
The school's board is going to name two rooms after each of the men.
A board room will be named after Mosely and a community room after Parker.
Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.