Council members and school officials put aside their differences on the Bryan Road Elementary School site and together broke ground in a small ceremony on Thursday.
Construction on the site has already started. Last month, construction workers started moving trees, and by Thursday they were already laying down the foundation of the school.
“The future is bright for everybody,” Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “The school is part of the growth of Garner. So I commend the county commissioners and the school system for building another school.”
The school, located at 8317 Bryan Road, will be a three-story building with 109,432 square feet on 16 acres. It will be able to accommodate 800 students.
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The school will have 52 classrooms, a media center, cafeteria, kitchen, multipurpose room, mulitpurpose field, three playground structures, paved play areas and car and bus loops.
The unique feature of this school will be collaborative learning spaces, something new to the Wake County Public School System.
The collaborative learning spaces will be large areas that Bryan Road students can meet in to work in small groups, large groups or on their own with furniture that can be easily moved around to meet needs. Glass walls will be used in the classrooms so that teachers can observe the commons areas.
Advocates say it replicates the way the modern business office is set up.
“Facilities can assist in learning,” WCPSS superintendent Jim Merrill said. “Lighting infrastructure, technology, those things do promote stronger student achievement. So the better we can build structures that are pretty much 21st century thinking and all those things that come with it, and kids expect now the better success they’ll have as they go through our schools.”
Construction is expected to be completed by August 2017, in time for Vandora Springs Elementary School students to use Bryan Road as a swing space while their school undergoes renovations.
Vandora Springs Elementary will be demolished next year and then reconstructed.
The work almost didn’t happen after Garner Town Council members and representatives from the school system had trouble reaching an agreement on a special use permit to build Bryan Road Elementary School. The Town Council wanted school officials to pave Bryan Road, currrently a gravel road. But school officials said they didn’t have the money to do so.
After a couple of months of negotiations, the two entities finally did reach an agreement. If it had taken any longer, the project would have been delayed and Vandora Springs might not have gotten its renovations.
Vandora Springs Elementary School principal Troy Peuler attended the ceremony. He said it was exciting to witness the development going on.
“And I know our whole staff and students and community are going to be excited about moving out here for a year,” Peuler said. “I think having the best technology available that they are outfitting new schools with is going to be a tremendous boost compared to what we have in our building now and the collaboration spaces that the teachers will be able to work with other teachers and using that space to benefit the educational needs.”