Education

Wake County considers new school relocation sites for renovations

Shiny new Corvettes, right, on the lot wait for buyers at the Capital Chevrolet car dealership, formerly Bobby Murray Chevrolet, on August 17, 2016. The Wake County Public School System recently purchased the property on Capital Blvd inside the 440 Beltline to build a new high school. But the site could temporarily be used to house students from Wiley Elementary School during its upcoming renovation project.
Shiny new Corvettes, right, on the lot wait for buyers at the Capital Chevrolet car dealership, formerly Bobby Murray Chevrolet, on August 17, 2016. The Wake County Public School System recently purchased the property on Capital Blvd inside the 440 Beltline to build a new high school. But the site could temporarily be used to house students from Wiley Elementary School during its upcoming renovation project. cseward@newsobserver.com

Wake County could change the schedule for renovation projects for five Raleigh elementary schools in an effort to help some families go to closer temporary locations during the construction work.

School facilities staff plan to relocate students and staff from Conn, North Ridge, Stough, Wiley and York elementary schools to “swing space” sites during the next five years while the campuses undergo major renovation projects.

Amid complaints that the sites were too far away, the school board’s facilities committee agreed Wednesday to recommend two new options to consider. Wake is responding to complaints from Stough Elementary families that the staff’s plan would have caused them to go to a temporary site that’s 10 miles from their current campus.

“It will provide a closer swing space option for the Stough community without a significant financial impact to the district,” said school board member Bill Fletcher, chairman of the facilities committee.

The current Wake plans calls for:

▪ Relocating Stough Elementary to a modular campus at Spring Forest Road for the 2018-19 school year;

▪ Relocating Wiley Elementary to Garner High School’s current ninth-grade center for the 2018-19 school year;

▪ Relocating North Ridge Elementary to Spring Forest Road for the 2019-20 school year;

▪ Relocating York Elementary to a new elementary school, E-24, at Strickland Road for the 2019-20 school year;

▪ Relocating Conn Elementary to Spring Forest Road for the 2020-21 school year.

Facilities staff presented five new options on Wednesday. The committee told staff to present options two and seven to the full board on Tuesday.

Under option 2, Stough’s renovation would be delayed a year to 2019 with students going to E24, which is four miles closer than Spring Forest Road. York’s relocation to E24 would be delayed to 2020.

School board member Christine Kushner, whose district includes Stough, said the proposal is a good compromise.

“While I’m sad that Stough and York are delayed, at least they will be in new space that’s in proximity,” Kushner said.

Wiley’s renovation would be pushed back to 2020, but the students would go to a closer site at 1820 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh. The school board recently purchased the site, which used to be the Bobby Murray Chevrolet car dealership, to convert it for use as a new high school.

Option 2 also pushes up the renovation for North Ridge and Conn by a year. This option costs $1.9 million more than the current plan.

Option 7 is the same as option 2 with the exception that Wiley’s renovation would still begin in 2018 with students going to Garner. It costs $200,000 less than the current plan.

Betty Parker, senior director of real estate services, warned the committee Wednesday that the district will need permission from the other major tenants in the shopping center to convert the Garner site into use for an elementary school.

The committee rejected an option that would temporarily reassign Stough students for a year to other schools during the renovation. The committee also nixed an option that would have required leaving Conn at the modular campus at Spring Forest for two years so that Wiley families could spend a year at Conn’s renovated building.

An option that could have cost $15.3 million more by leasing a space in west Raleigh to temporarily house Stough and York students was also nixed.

Mark Williamson, co-PTA president at Stough, said it would be disappointing to postpone the renovation by a year. But he said families would definitely appreciate going to a closer swing space site.

“There’s definitely a tradeoff,” Williamson said.

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui

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