MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — News 19 got a sneak peek of the almost-completed Journey Middle School in Madison on Wednesday.

Members of the Madison City Board of Education along with Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols guided the tour. The $51 million facility, which comes in under budget, is expected to house around 1,200 students when it opens.

The groundbreaking happened in March 2021, and was expected to be done by last June.

“We’ve been averaging, for about the last six years, 300 new students a year,” said Nichols. “Our two middle schools that we’ve had, Discovery and Liberty, have reached their maximum — their 99 percent.”

“This will give us not only some flexibility as far as a thousand or more students in all three of these eventually, but also allows us to do some remodeling of those facilities that we haven’t been able to do,” he concluded.

The 170,000 square foot building is set to open this fall as the third middle school in the Madison City school system.