Apex, Cary and Fuquay-Varina are home to six of 27 Wake County schools that could be in line for renovations as part of a proposed 2016 school construction bond issue.
Apex High and Fuquay-Varina High are two of 11 schools that might be considered for major renovations, district planners told Board of Education leaders on May 14.
Fuquay-Varina Middle, Cary High, Briarcliff Elementary in Cary and Baucom Elementary in Apex are on a list of 16 schools that might receive smaller renovations.
District planners presented the list to Wake school board members in a facilities committee meeting on May 13. The board will need to prioritize the list this winter after district staff gets a better idea of how much renovations would cost at each school, said Joe Desormeaux, assistant superintendent for facilities.
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His facilities staff wants to spend a combined $700,000 to study conditions at Fuquay-Varina High, Wendell Elementary, and Raleigh’s North Ridge Elementary, York Elementary and West Millbrook Middle. The district is already familiar with potential needs and costs at the other 22 schools, Desormeaux said.
The school board realistically can’t fund all 27 projects in the next program, Desormeaux said. Wake will have to balance renovations with providing funding for new schools to keep up with growth.
“I would like to do all of them. They all need the work,” he said. “But they all depend on how much money is available.”
Desormeaux emphasized that none of the schools on the list are guaranteed to be renovated after the next bond, and that the order in which the schools were presented in school board materials does not indicate which schools will receive priority.
Still, some board members voiced support for certain schools.
School board members Bill Fletcher, who represents Cary, and Jim Martin, who represents Raleigh and central Wake, said they had concerns about the deteriorating conditions at Fuquay-Varina High School.
Martin was absent from Wednesday’s meeting but relayed his concerns in a note to board member Kevin Hill, who chairs the committee.
“He’d like to see these renovations started as soon as possible,” Hill said of Martin.
Those comments, along with the $250,000 the county hopes to spend on studying the conditions at Fuquay-Varina High, left some of the school’s supporters feeling cautiously optimistic that the district hasn’t forgotten about them.
“We would certainly consider that a step in the right direction,” said Susan Payne, a parent at Fuquay-Varina High.
The board’s discussion comes after a recent meeting between Fuquay-Varina officials, Chamber of Commerce members and Wake County Board of Education member Susan Evans. At the meeting, Fuquay-Varina residents said they would like for the town to have a second high school and for the existing school to move up on the list of buildings to be renovated.
About 25 percent of the school is in modular units, less than a county average, but many agreed the renovations are needed.
Apex and Garner high schools are slated to be renovated with funds from the 2013 bond. Apex is scheduled for $8 million in renovations while Garner is set for $67.8 million in major restructuring.
Fuquay-Varina High is 40 years old. When it rains, the school has to lay sandbags in the administrative offices to prevent flooding, Payne said.
“It’s a ticking-time bomb from a safety standpoint,” she said.
Schools that might be renovated
▪ Eleven Wake County schools might be considered for major renovations as part of the next bond. They are: Apex High, Conn Elementary, East Wake Middle, Fuquay-Varina High, North Ridge Elementary, Stough Elementary, Vandora Springs Elementary, Wendell Elementary, West Millbrook Middle, Wiley Elementary and York Elementary.
Apex High, East Wake Middle, Stough Elementary and Vandora Springs Elementary already have partial funding from the 2013 bond to do design work.
▪ Staff identified 16 schools which might be in line for smaller renovations where only part of the campus would get work: Broughton High, Cary High, East Garner Middle, Enloe High, Fuller Elementary, Fuquay-Varina Middle, Hunter Elementary, Knightdale Elementary, Millbrook High, Sanderson High, Swift Creek Elementary, Washington Elementary, Baucom Elementary, Briarcliff Elementary, Millbrook Elementary and Wake Forst Elementary.
T. Keung Hui