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.
School officials confirmed that at Monday night’s planning commission meeting during a hearing in which they requested a special use permit. The Planning Commission voted to approve the request for the renovations to Garner Magnet High School.
The school will look totally different when it is complete. For one, it will be a three-story building.
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 on the home side.
Marcella Rorie, senior facility planner for Wake County Public School System, said an administration area will be demolished and replaced by outside dining area outside the cafeteria. There will be a new auditorium.
“The existing auditorium will be renovated to create new locker rooms and restrooms,” Rorie said.
The student parking lot will also 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.
The school will have a capacity of 2,350 students.
There will be five points of access off Spring Drive. A traffic impact analysis conducted by the N.C. Department of Transportation recommends more turning lanes into the school to help facilitate traffic during the peak hours.
Construction is scheduled to start in June 2016 and will be complete in the summer of 2018. The total cost of the project is about $61 million.
The district made the decision to do more reconstruction rather than renovation in April after confirming the school had mold and mildew on the walls and that it was deteriorating. Most of the campus was built in the 1960s.
The initial plan was to save two of the buildings, C and D, a few years ago. Garner High students were to have spent a year at the new South Garner High building, while their school was being renovated and reconstructed. After that year they would have moved back to their school during the final year of renovation and building F was to have been used as a swing space. South Garner would be open to its new students for the 2017-18 school year.
But after Garner council members complained about the scale of the original renovation plans, school officials reinspected buildings and found that buildings C and D were in worse shape than they thought and the district decided to demolish those buildings and reconstruct them.
With the exception of a few questions, commission members seemed pleased with the renovations.
“As the parent of four graduates of Garner High School, I am so thrilled that there is going to be a comfortable auditorium to sit in,” said commission chair Jim Hunnicutt.
While the renovations are underway, Garner Magnet High School students in 10th, 11th and 12th grade will relocate to the new South Garner High for two years as a swing space.
The ninth grade students will use the Ninth Grade Center until the renovations are complete. After that, all of the students will move into the new campus.
Commission member Cliff Sauls asked Rorie if the Ninth Grade Center would be available for Garner Magnet High School use, in case of future growth.
Rorie said the district expects South Garner High School to handle any growth. The Ninth Grade Center is expected to be used by district staff.
Both the newly renovated Garner Magnet High School and the new South Garner High will officially open in the 2018-19 school year.
The permit approval will go before the council Oct. 5.