As Alabama's coastal population booms, schools in the area are becoming more and more crowded in the Gulf Shores area. Recently, a 200-acre parcel of land was purchased and there are plans to build a huge educational complex, including a brand new high school. The complex, known as the Coastal Alabama Center for Educational Excellence, will be the site of numerous educational facilities new to the area, but one of the most exciting additions to this complex, however, is a $12 million Auburn University satellite campus. Sitting right on the corner of County Road 8 and the Foley Beach Express, this huge building is planned to measure in at 25,000 square feet over 26 acres. Although there will be classes for several of Auburn's programs, the centerpiece will be the College of Veterinary Medicine. Students and faculty at the Gulf Shores satellite will have unique opportunities to learn more about providing care to unique wildlife that is native to Alabama's Gulf Coast. Additional classes and activities will be made available for students of Auburn's College of Agriculture and there will be non-credit certification training classes for students of the Auburn Aviation Center. Although other classes will be available, this campus is predominately a veterinary medicine school where students will get to learn more about marine mammal medicine and aquatic animal pathology among other subjects.
The Coastal Alabama Center for Educational Excellence is just one facet of an even bigger project known as the "Small Town, Big Beach Vision 2025 for Sustainability" that has been in the works throughout 2016. This project is meant to revitalize the Gulf Shores economy and environment to accommodate for all the recent growth that the city has seen in the past few years and education is at the top of a long list of improvements coming to Gulf Shores. Many residents are already aware of the work and improvements around the area known as Gulf Place, where a large boardwalk, green spaces, and numerous other facilities are being constructed in an effort to make the public beach area safer and stimulate the economy in that area. Known as the Gulf Place Revitalization Project, this first phase of construction is estimated to be completed by April 2017 with several other phases beginning shortly thereafter.
Other areas in Coastal Alabama are doing their part to boost the coastal economy, one of which is the huge Foley Sports Tourism Complex. With fifteen huge multipurpose sports fields and one championship field with stadium seating, an event center rounding in at 90,000 square feet, and an amusement park and family entertainment center nearby are under construction in an area between Highway 59 and the Baldwin Beach Express. The state-of-the-art sports complex promises to lure both tourists from all over the country and residents of Alabama to Foley, where they will be able to attend a variety of sports tournaments less than an hour away from the white-sand beaches that the area is already famous for.
Coastal Alabama is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States and the construction of the Foley Sports Tourism Complex, Coastal Alabama Center for Educational Excellence, and the implementation of the “Small Town, Big Beach Vision 2025 for Sustainability” in Gulf Shores are sure to both accommodate future growth and tempt more tourists to the area, a major component of Baldwin County’s economy.