We are disappointed that conversations have already broken out regarding the comparative state of athletic facilities at Garner Magnet High School, which is due to be renovated beginning this summer, and the yet-to-open South Garner High School.
Wake County Public Schools has been asked by boosters with the Trojan Club to ensure that the facilities at the renovated Garner Magnet High School will be on par with those at the new school. The request came about after GMHS boosters got a look at the facilities at the new school. While it is natural to want what everyone else has, equal facilities have never been the be-all, end-all of a quality athletics program.
Just ask the basketball team at Duke University, where the perennial national title contenders play in an old, tiny gymnasium built in 1940 which seats less than half the number its Triangle rivals can squeeze into their palatial surroundings.
Much more important to the quality of the athletic programs are the caliber of players and coaches who make up the teams that represent GMHS.
As a practical matter, WCPSS has said part of the renovations at GMHS are slated to improve the athletic facilities. Will they look and feel just like the ones at South Garner High School? No, probably not. But then again, a school’s home-team advantage is derived from the nuances of the space, the knowledge of dips in the field or dead spots on the gymnasium floor.
GMHS student-athletes certainly ought not to play their sports in substandard facilities. It is unlikely that the improvements planned by WCPSS will make the facilities worse. Indeed, they will be better than they are now.
And, at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that Wake County Public Schools is in the business of educating young people, not just producing a basketball or football star from time to time.