MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WIAT) — American Village looks to the future, breaking ground on phase II of their Independence Hall replica building project.

Their president and CEO, Alan Miller, tells CBS 42 this central portion will be an extension of the immersive educational experience currently offered in the phase I building.

Phase I of the building starts with immersing visitors into a Boston Tea Party Experience

When phase II is finished, Miller said visitors will have the opportunity to take a journey through the past, learning all about America’s independence.

They’re keeping the full picture under wraps for now, but he did share some exciting details about how interactive the building’s experience will be.

Miller said this second installment of the building will greet visitors with portraits of the past.

“The portraits will come to life,” Miller said. “And the founders will begin to engage themselves and debate, arguing with King George. It should be a lot of fun, ‘til ultimately they are called into the assembly room and asked to take a final vote on whether or not to declare their independence.”

Miller said they currently serve around 35,000 students, but this expansion will allow them to reach nearly 250,000 students, teachers and visitors each year.

Montevallo’s mayor, Rusty Nix, says they have always appreciated the traction American Village brings to the city and that they are very excited for this expansion and it’s potential increase in reach.

Mayor Nix calls their city Shelby County’s hidden gem largely due to American Village. He said when people leave there, many shop Montevallo.

“It’s very exciting,” Mayor Nix said. “I mean, anytime that you can bring more people into your town that’s just a boost in sales tax revenue and things like that. And people come in and go like ‘wow, you know, we went to Montevallo and this is going on,’ and I’m tickled to death with it.”

When this building comes to fruition, Miller said visitors will truly get a feel for all of its educational opportunities.

He said it’s important they make the most of this opportunity to teach their students what America has to offer and how they can contribute.

“Making sure that all of our children see themselves in the history of America’s founding and that they have a real desire to become- to continue in their own education, their history and civics education to grow and become engaged and responsible citizens,” Miller said.

Today’s groundbreaking will take place at 10:30 am. Miller said they hope to have a ribbon cutting for phase II in the spring of 2024 all before their celebration of America’s 250th birthday on July 4th 2026.