Cary News

Work kicks off on new White Oak Elementary in Cary

Cary Town Council members Ed Yerha and Lori Bush help break ground on the town’s newest elementary school, White Oak Elementary, Friday, Aug. 21. The school will open in August 2016 and can accommodate up to 900 students.
Cary Town Council members Ed Yerha and Lori Bush help break ground on the town’s newest elementary school, White Oak Elementary, Friday, Aug. 21. The school will open in August 2016 and can accommodate up to 900 students. ktrogdon@newsobserver.com

In about a year, hundreds of students will fill the seats at Cary’s newest elementary school – White Oak Elementary.

Cary and Wake County officials broke ground Friday, Aug. 21, on the 101,300-square-foot facility at 1512 White Oak Church Road. The Cary school can accommodate about 900 children, which will ease crowding at west Cary elementary schools, particularly Highcroft Drive Elementary.

“There’s been a cry from residents in the west part of Cary for some solutions to help overcrowding,” Cary Town Councilwoman Lori Bush said. “So this is a step forward to help them.”

Officials in attendance emphasized the necessity of the new school in light of continuous county growth. Recent county data found that 22 children are born in Wake County every day.

“Which is enough to fill a kindergarten class,” said Susan Evans, a Wake County school board member. “This will help absorb the new growth that is coming in this area.”

Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes said with county residents “birthing about a kindergarten class a day,” the county expects to have more than 190,000 students in need of a seat in the county’s classrooms by 2025.

The three-story building will cost $25 million.

When the school opens its doors next August, some students living west of N.C. 540 and north of U.S. 64 will start their first year at the new school, according to the first draft of the 2016-17 school assignment proposal. Rising fourth- and fifth-graders assigned to the new school can stay at their current schools, but without bus service.

The school also will serve as a traditional calendar option in an area with several multi-track year round schools.

“People want choices,” Cary Town Councilman Ed Yerha said. “Hopefully, this is going to give it to them.”

After about three years of preparation by Wake County, construction company Clancy & Theys soon will be able to lay the first brick.

“Wake County continues to be a vibrant attractive place for folks from other areas, and we are proud that the quality of our public school system has always played a large role in that attractiveness,” Evans said. “We’ll enjoy watching the campus come to life over this next year.”

Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon

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