HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville City Council approved donating land to the incoming Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering by a unanimous vote on a resolution Thursday evening. The resolution stated the council’s support for the school and intent to donate the land.
Thursday, the Huntsville City Council agreed to donate $1.8 million worth of land at Cummings Research Park for the new school.
The latter is a state magnet school, much like Birmingham’s Alabama School of Fine arts. ASCTE is hailed among politicians as a big step to educate students in cyber-security and the cyber sector. We’re told it can help grow the workforce for those in-demand jobs in North Alabama. The goal is that, by educating students in these fields locally, Alabamians can be the future of this new and exciting industry.
“The cyber industry is absolutely growing in Huntsville. We want it to continue to grow,” said John Hamilton, city administrator in an interview with WHNT News 19. “The state’s decision to locate it here is great for our local economy, it’s great for our state economy.
But council president Devyn Keith pointed out that Huntsville is financing something the state will run.
“The amount of money we are spending is different than the amount we are spending in our own community,” he brought up, later adding, “If you’re going to let Montgomery run it, I will be shocked if it runs fairly fairly.”
Keith initially suggested students in Huntsville have consideration for getting into the school when compared to others around the state and worried Huntsville students would be turned away, but said that could all be discussed at a later date. He agreed it would be a good investment overall and pointed out that the school will benefit from being in Huntsville and in Cummings Research Park.
WHNT News 19 has previously reported on the school leadership’s search for the right place to build the school.
The school would be a residential one, with dormitories and students from across the state who want to participate in specialized curriculum related to the growing fields of cyber and engineering. The school will begin taking student applications this fall, its website says.
“They’re coming from all over the state. A small percentage of these kids will be from Huntsville. But ultimately, what we are doing is helping build that workforce of the future for Huntsville, for Madison County, and for the rest of Alabama,” Hamilton said.
It will first use a temporary location until it can move to a permanent building.
ASCTE’s Foundation is planning a big announcement Friday. Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and Alicia Ryan, the ASCTE Foundation President, will be in attendance.