ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — A ceremonial groundbreaking occurred in Orange Beach Tuesday for a $46 million athletic complex. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

An assembly inside the Performing Arts Center showed off the state-of-the-art facilities planned for nine acres adjacent to campus.

“It is an excellent day in the young history of Orange Beach City Schools,” said Superintendent Randy Wilkes.

The centerpiece of the project, is a football stadium, track field, a competition gym, locker rooms, weight rooms and more. The presentation looks at the future of Orange Beach athletics funded by the city of Orange Beach. “Much is given, much is expected,” said Orange Beach mayor Tony Kennon. “An investment in our kids, there’s no better.”

Wilkes said the complex will benefit all students. “We are going to have kids to run our jumbotron. We are going to have kids run center hung displays in the gymnasium. We’ll have student trainers working in sports medicine in the training rooms.”

The new complex is an important piece in completing Orange Beach schools, but Wilkes says more is planned. “I would say career and technical education has to be a point of emphasis moving forward, and we’ve already had discussions as to what that looks like in the very near future.”

For now, the focus is on a state-of-the-art athletic complex that is expected to take 18 months to finish and promises to change athletics in Orange Beach for generations.