Garner Cleveland Record

South Garner High School taking shape, ready to open in August

Construction workers are busy in the ceiling of what will become the media center at South Garner High School.
Construction workers are busy in the ceiling of what will become the media center at South Garner High School. jalexander@newsobserver.com

South Garner High School is finally starting to take shape as it nears its opening in a few months.

There is still much work to be done to the interior, but school officials say the construction will finished by the late summer, prior to the next school year.

Garner Magnet High School students will move into the school by August, while their campus undergoes major renovations for two years.

South Garner High will be unique in that the design is like no other school.

“It started out as a prototype reuse of Franklinton High School in Franklin County,” Marcella Rorie, Wake’s senior facility planner, said.

However, South Garner High will be bigger.

During a tour of the facility Thursday, construction workers toiled in different parts of the school, including the gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium. Many of the classrooms were already built, as well as lockers on each floor.

On each floor, there will be lockers with common areas, unlike the prototypical lockers than line hallways. On top of the lockers are table tops.

“One of the things we’ve tried to do is provide space where we can have moveable furniture for collaboration spaces,” Rorie said. “So basically if students are working on team projects, if they are needing to do anything that requires more talking, more collaboration, moving things around, building things, they are able to use the tops from the lockers for projects. And we’ll be putting moveable furniture in these areas for them to be able to move things around and work together on projects.”

There will be fewer lockers than the average high school, however. Sheri Green, Wake’s director of Planning & Design, Facilities Design & Construction, said they’ve cut lockers by 50 percent because of the lack of demand in high school.

“There are a lot of principals that will say you can cut more than that too,” Green said.

The school will have Wi-Fi throughout the building.

Another feature to the school will be a classroom and kitchen, specifically for its culinary arts program.

Students interested in becoming a chef or caterer will be able to take a culinary arts class.

“It will basically be set up like the kitchen we use to feed all of the students,” Rorie said. “So having that and being able to experiment is absolutely lovely. The Health Department still has to come in and still has to inspect. So it’s starting to get them ready for the career part of their life.”

South Garner High will also be the first school in the county to have sand volleyball as a part of physical education and competition sports, she said.

The school will have a gymnasium, as well as an auxiliary gym and locker rooms with individual showers.

A provision in the new House Bill 2 law or HB2, which was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last month, requires transgender people to use bathrooms of their birth gender. That includes schools too.

The school system will allow students to use faculty restrooms, which are for one occupant only.

The new South Garner students will not move in until the 2018-19 school year.

The new three-story school building is designed to house 2,350 students. It covers 328,979 square feet. There will be six mobile units on campus, but they will not be used during the two years the Garner Magnet High students are on campus.

South Garner High is being constructed to alleviate the overcrowding at the school system’s second highest populated school in Garner Magnet High. Ninth grade students will continue their classes in the ninth-grade center over by Garner Magnet High. However, some classes will require them to be transported by bus to the South Garner campus.

The site, nearly 58 acres in size, will also include a football stadium, baseball and softball fields, a practice field, and 843 parking spaces.

The school will have four access points. Two driveways on Hebron Church Road, which runs along the long side of the roughly rectangular lot, lead into the car loop and to staff and visitor parking. A driveway on Clifford Road and another on New Bethel Church Road will each lead to the bus loop and on-site student parking.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland

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