If there’s one thing you need to know about the proposed new design of Garner Magnet High School, it’s this: When renovations are complete the school will look nothing like it does now.
A couple of weeks ago, the Wake County Public School System released the renderings of a brand new four-story Garner Magnet High School.
Sheri Green, the director of facility planning, said about three-fourths of the school will be new construction and the rest will be renovation.
She said when they first looked at the renovation project before the recession they were going to try to maintain a few of the existing buildings.
“But they have ended up continuing to decline in the years since we put the project on hold,” Green said. “And when we ran those through the feasibility analysis through the Department of Public Instruction, it was indicated that we should demolish those buildings.”
RATIO Architect will be doing the architectural design.
Green said the school is pretty much going to be in the same location it is now. There will be demolition to a number of buildings and the district will try to connect everything together.
The main entry for cars will start a little further down Spring Drive than it has been in the past and will circle around the front, she said. Students will be dropped off to go into the front entry of the school, then cars will exit. Buses will come further down to enter the site, circle around, unload, then circle out.
Among the items being improved are the tennis courts. There is currently a pathway across the tennis courts because of additional mobile units and modules on the campus. The softball and baseball fields will remain in the same location but will have some improvements. The football stadium will see renovations to its concession stands, locker rooms and restrooms.
The main gymnasium, which will be on the first floor, will have more seating. The designers have also created an outdoor dining area for the cafeteria.
The student parking lot will be expanded. Most of the 30 mobile units and modular buildings will be removed, with the exception of a few to be used for JROTC and public safety programs.
“We are looking forward to the fact that there will be less students coming back to this campus because of South Garner opening,” Green said. “So the need that they’ve had for this number of mobile modular classes will not be there when they return to the campus.”
Construction is scheduled to start in June 2016 and will be substantially complete in 2018.
While the renovations are underway, Garner Magnet High School students will relocate to the new South Garner High for two years as a swing space.
“We believe that will help us provide a safer environment for the students because of all the work being done on this campus,” Green said. “And it will also allow us to get work done more quickly and we hope at a better price when there are no students or faculty to walk around on the campus.”
The ninth grade center is still up for discussion when the renovations and construction is completed. New freshman will move back into the same building with their schoolmates.
The current ninth grade center may be used as a space for professional development.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $74 million.