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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A major renovation is underway to accommodate a growing number of students looking to learn online.

Until this year, students at Madison County Virtual Academy used a small portion of one building at the Career Tech Center for students grades 4 through 12 studies, but that’s about to change with this new space they’ll soon call their own.

“It is a stand-alone school that students attend and that’s where you learn virtually. They have their own classrooms, they have their own principal’s office, their own counseling office, own staff, own teachers. Madison County virtual Academy is going to end up being one of the premier virtual academies in the state of Alabama,” Madison County spokesperson Tim Hall said.

Hall says the grade a student is in determines how many days they’re required to come to these smaller, in-person classes. Otherwise, they’re learning online.

He says the pandemic contributed to the virtual academy’s growth and ultimately the decision to expand. Now, the space is only awaiting finishing touches and furniture delivery.

“We have to keep up with the times, so when students walk in that room, it gives the feel of a college campus, college learning environment,” Hall said.

Last year there was a high of about 400 students, with nearly 300 already re-registered for this coming year.

With the uncertainty accompanying the pandemic, hall says they could see that number continuing to grow.

“We have room for more, so if you don’t want your child to attend traditional school in-person, in-class instruction, get them enrolled in the Madison County Virtual Academy, that would be the right place for your student,” he said.

It is not just for those weary of returning in person. For some families, it is just a better option.

“There are a number of opportunities that come with virtual academy. You can study and learn at your own pace, and you can move yourself down that track as fast as you choose to,” he said.

Hall said nearly 70 students graduated from the Virtual Academy last year, more than were even enrolled when they began four years ago.

He says he looks forward to watching the Academy continue to grow for years to come.