The Wake County Public School System has decided it will knock down and reconstruct the entire Vandora Springs Elementary building rather than try to preserve any of it.
The school system had previously recommended keeping its Kindergarten wing, which was built in the ’90s, and tearing down the rest of the facility. It was the newest wing at Vandora Springs Elementary. But after further analysis, Brian Conklin, the senior director of facilities, design and construction, said specialists found there were “conditions within the wall that may be problematic.”
Replacing the building will cost only slightly more than renovating it. Renovations were expected to cost $2.3 million. Demolishing the building and starting over would cost a little over $2.4 million.
The larger job would not add extra time to the schedule in which the renovations are supposed to be completed.
“This adds safety, this adds appeal, better learning spaces, efficiency from an energy standpoint,” school board member Jim Martin said.
“And we’re getting a longer life span,” school board member Christine Kushner added. “I think it is a win-win.”
The work almost didn’t happen after Garner town council members and representatives from the school system had trouble reaching an agreement on a special use permit to build Bryan Road Elementary. Bryan Road Elementary will be used as a swing space while Vandora Springs undergoes its renovations.
The two entities finally did reach an agreement after three meetings of negotiations. If it had taken any longer, the project would have been delayed and Vandora Springs might not have gotten its renovations.
There is still a little bit of uncertainty surrounding the renovations at Vandora Springs Elementary, however. In 2015, the school board reallocated money to projects, which were underway that came over budget. There is money in the most recent school bond to pay for the planning effort at Vandora Springs, but funds for the actual construction would be included in a 2016 bond referendum.
Those at Vandora Springs remain optimistic.
Principal Troy Peuler said the school was pleased with the school board’s decision to reconstruct the full campus.
“We’re happy,” Peuler said. “I know they put a lot of hard work into it, looking at all the pros and cons of it. I think everything showed that it would be advantageous to move forward with just a whole new building. So we’re thrilled with it.”