North Raleigh News

Brier Creek Elementary in northwest Raleigh might move

Students and teachers at Brier Creek Elementary might move to a new school in 2016 as the Wake County school system looks for ways to provide more calendar options in the fast-growing northwestern part of the county.

School administrators proposed Wednesday moving the current Brier Creek population to a new elementary school 2.7 miles away near the Durham County line. The new school would keep Brier Creek’s existing multi-track year-round calendar, while the current school would switch to a traditional calendar.

“Brier Creek Elementary, that community, would not be changing calendars,” said Laura Evans, Wake’s senior director of student assignment. “We’d open a new school in the old facility, and it would be the traditional-calendar school.”

Current Brier Creek students would be able to request to remain at their current campus, but school officials would have to give approval.

Administrators say the switch makes sense because the new school could hold more year-round students than Brier Creek. The new school will have 52 classrooms, while the current Brier Creek building has 38.

The current campus can support 834 students, but the school currently enrolls 926. Administrators say the school’s capacity would decrease to 715 students with a traditional calendar.

The new school could support as many as 1,058 students.

In addition, administrators said Brier Creek would provide traditional-calendar seats for families who don’t want to attend two nearby year-round schools, including Sycamore Creek Elementary on Leesville Road.

There’s precedent for this kind of swap. In January 2003, Jones Dairy Elementary School in Wake Forest was closed for renovations, with students and staff relocating to the new Heritage Elementary School and adopting the school’s name.

Administrators have proposed using Pleasant Grove Elementary as the new school’s name. But school board members said that the Brier Creek community might want to transfer the name to the new campus.

Administrators said they might also want to rename the current Brier Creek school and campus.

Board members said at Wednesday’s facilities committee meeting that the proposal made sense but added that they wanted to get community input before a decision is made. The full board could discuss the issue in late February or early March.

Allen Oliver, president of the Brier Creek Elementary PTA, said he expects parents will have concerns about the proposal.

“They’re changing the schedule and then you have to move if you don’t like it,” he said.

Oliver said school officials would also have to reconsider which middle schools Brier Creek students would attend. Now, most Brier Creek students go to Cary’s Mills Park Middle, which has a traditional calendar. Under the proposal, some students could be assigned to the new Pine Hollow Middle, a year-round school set to open in northwest Raleigh in 2016.

As for the new elementary school, Evans said staff hasn’t drawn attendance lines yet.

But school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner seemed to embrace the idea.

“It is a creative way to add seats while allowing students to stay on their current calendar,” Kushner siad.