DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — The transition from eighth grade to high school can be a little scary, especially going to a high school that continues to grow. Administrators at Daphne High School heard those concerns, which led them to build a new facility just for ninth graders.

Eddie Tyler, Baldwin County Schools Superintendent, said he had a vision of wanting to have a separate learning environment for ninth graders.

“It just gives ninth graders an opportunity to continue to grow and mature, you know, it’s pretty intimidating when you are walking the halls with juniors and seniors,” Tyler said.

Through the double doors is a new 38,000-square-foot building, with 22 new classrooms, two science rooms and an art room.

But the ninth-grade academy also helps with the growing number of students. Daphne High School Principal, John Fletcher Comer said that Daphne continues to grow in the enrollment area and, with the addition of the freshman wing, it helps with capacity.

“This certainly helps with transitions in maybe hallway congestion, having a whole new building and having this group circulating, having growth has allowed us to add programs or expand programs that we were not able to because we did not have enough teaching units,”  Comer said.

High school can be a challenging four years but the Baldwin County Public School System believes the new facility will help students adjust. 

“We like the idea that these freshmen can come, continue to grow socially, emotionally, academically, still involved with the high school extracurricular activities,” Tyler said.

The ninth-grade academy will serve 475 freshmen this school year.