Wake County’s efforts to bring older schools up to modern standards took the spotlight Wednesday as one community returned to its original campus and another got acclimated to the school it will temporarily call home.
Students and parents gasped with wonder Wednesday as they toured the rebuilt Green Elementary School in North Raleigh for the first time since they left two years ago to make way for the $23 million renovation project.
Similar feelings were voiced at the new South Garner High School, where students and staff from Garner High School will spend the next two years while workers complete a $73.7 million renovation of the aging campus.
Green students and staff spent the past two school years at a temporary modular campus on Spring Forest Road near East Millbrook Middle School during the renovations. As part of Wake’s ongoing efforts to renovate older schools, students and staff from Brooks Elementary have replaced Green at the modular campus while their school is rebuilt.
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“The road to this school has been so many years in the making, and it’s been a patient and supportive community that’s waited a long time for it,” Lisa Brown, principal of Green Elementary, said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I’m thrilled that you now have it, and I cannot wait for you to see inside.”
Schools around Wake County are holding open houses and meet-the-teacher events this week in advance of the first day of classes for traditional-calendar schools on Monday.
At Green Elementary, families attended the magnet school’s event in a completely new facility. The original building near Millbrook and Six Forks roads, which was constructed in 1958, was torn down, rebuilt and expanded.
Families who attended the old Green Elementary campus immediately noticed the bigger, brighter and more colorful building.
“It brings an excitement, not only to the teachers and the students but to the parents,” said Carnice Holmes, who toured Green with her granddaughter Caleyah, a fourth-grade student. “With newness there always feels like there’s a new beginning to things.”
Chairs and desks all have wheels so they can be easily moved to create collaborative learning areas where students can work in small or large groups or on their own. But what really impressed Scott Farabaugh, a fifth-grade student at Green, was the large flat-screen monitor in every classroom.
“It’s really cool,” Scott said. “It was time to get a new building.”
Garner High families who toured South Garner High on Wednesday got a taste of what their campus could look like after the renovations are completed. Barbara Fouquette said the chemistry lab looked beautiful as she toured the school with her two kids, Elizabeth and Josh.
“I’m glad that everything in here is in one building, and you have covered hallways,” Fouquette said. “And you’re not going to have to go from building to building.”
Nita Bussey said she was also pleased with the appearance of South Garner High. Her only concern is the traffic flow.
“I think traffic is going to be terrible with the students and teachers coming in and the school buses,” said Bussey, whose son Xavier will attend the school. “Being on those two-lane highways, you know driving on those will be different than driving on Timber Drive.”