Alumni of Garner High say that they are concerned South Garner High’s gymnasium will be superior to their school’s gym even after the major renovations to the school are complete.
A group of Garner Trojan Club board members attended Tuesday’s town council meeting, asking for the council’s support as they prepare to go to the county with their request to increase the size of Garner Magnet High School’s gym.
“We are concerned that the changes to the plan will be a detriment to the students,” Jim Kelly, a Trojan Club board member, said on behalf of the board. “We believe that the new Garner Magnet High School should have all the bells and whistles as the new high school.”
Ricky Harris, also a Trojan Club board member, said while on a tour of the new South Garner facility he noticed that the gymnasium was more than twice the size of Garner Magnet High School’s gym. He said he and others were initially told that Garner’s gym would be expanded under the renovation plan.
But he said he was recently told that that wouldn’t be the case any longer, and the gym would only be remodeled.
Harris said he and other Trojan Club members are only hoping the gym will be equal to South Garner High’s.
“I think if we’re going to have two high schools in Garner that the town has got to support equally, then they should have equal facilities,” Harris said.
Harris said the board members had no other concerns with the facility.
Wake school officials say the expansion of the gym were never in the plans.
Marcella Rorie, Wake’s senior facility planner, said the plan was to expand the seating. Wake officials looked at providing a second story tier for elevated seating, similar to the gym at Rolesville High School.
However, she said, upon looking at the design and analyzing the structural part of the building, they had run into some problems and found that adding the second story tier was not possible.
“One was cost, one was structure, and the other was all the sight lines that would be compromised,” Rorie said. “Some people would have to look around columns to see the floor.”
Rorie said it’s possible that there will be more seating after the seats are replaced.
Sherri Green, Wake’s director of Planning & Design, Facilities Design & Construction, said while they plan to try to maximize the amount of seating possible, there’s also the possibility that there could be less seating.
“It’s always what will fit and what will meet (the building) code,” she said.
Three-fourths of Garner Magnet High School will be demolished and rebuilt by the summer of 2018. The rest of the school will be renovated and made into a connected four-story building.
▪ The softball and baseball fields will stay in the same location but will be improved.
▪ The football stadium’s concession stands, locker rooms and restrooms will also be renovated.
▪ The tennis courts will be replaced
▪ There will be a new 850-seat auditorium.
▪ There will also be an outdoor dining space and expanded cafeteria with more seating.
▪ Only two mobile classrooms will remain on campus in case of unexpected growth.
The mobile classrooms will be used for JROTC and the school’s Fire Safety Academy program.
The school will have a capacity of 2,350 students, and there will be five points of access off Spring Drive.
The total cost of the project is $74.5 million. The demolition of the school is expected to begin July 6.
While the renovations are underway, Garner High students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades will relocate to the new South Garner High for two years, starting in August.
Ninth-graders will use the Ninth Grade Center until the renovations are complete. After that, all students will move into the new campus. Both the new South Garner High and the newly remade Garner Magnet High School will open to their new students in the fall of 2018.