Wake to buy vacant Garner theater, use it for overflow classrooms

khui@newsobserver.comFebruary 7, 2012 

The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to buy a vacant movie theater in Garner to help reduce overcrowding at Garner High School.

The school system will acquire the Garner Towne Square 10 theater, located at 2600 Timber Drive. The theater will be converted to operate as an off-campus ninth-grade center for the nearby Garner High.

Details about the purchase price and the cost of renovating the theater weren’t immediately available. The 10-screen theater closed in October 2010. The operators of the theater blamed the closure on the slow economy and a lease dispute with the shopping center’s owner.

Don Haydon, the school system’s chief facilities and operations officer, and school board member John Tedesco, who represents Garner, said town officials were supportive of the deal. Tedesco said the town is willing to make infrastructure improvements to improve access to the theater from the nearby Garner High.

Garner High is experiencing overcrowding that has led to a large number of classroom trailers on the campus.

One way that the school system has dealt with high school overcrowding is to use off-campus properties near the schools to handle the overflow. This means using the off-campus building as a ninth-grade center.

In addition to the capacity benefits, supporters of ninth-grade centers say they help freshmen better transition into high school not being around the upperclassmen.

For instance, the school system is leasing a former Winn-Dixie supermarket in Wake Forest to house a ninth-grade center for Wakefield High.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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