Wake Ed

Wake County finds money for new schools in Cary and Garner

Wake County school administrators have found enough money to start design work now on both a new middle school in Cary and one in Garner.

Administrators will ask the school board to vote Tuesday on reallocating $2.6 million from the 2006 school building program to design Bryan Road Middle School in Garner, M-12 middle school near Alston Ridge Elementary in Cary and the H-13 high school in Fuquay-Varina. The authorization of the design money could allow all three schools to open in 2019, assuming a bond issue or some other form of funding to pay for construction is approved.

Last week, administrators recommended allocating design money on H-13, M-12 and a new elementary school. A bond issue could be put on the 2016 ballot that would fund construction of all these new schools.

Any of the schools not picked for fast-tracking will still be part of the next building program, school leaders said.

But some Garner officials became alarmed that Bryan Road might not get the same as or greater priority for opening than the new middle school in Cary. Schools that get design money this year are more likely to be built first than those designed later.

Last week, facilities staff said they were leaning toward the Cary sitebecause middle school crowding was greater there than in Garner. But after some board members raised concerns, staff said they’d come back this week with information on whether they could fund both middle school designs now.

Although both middle schools and the new high school have an opening date for the 2019-20 school year, H-13 would start a little differently. It would spend that school year as the temporary home for Fuquay-Varina High School students while their campus is renovated. In the 2020-21 school year, H-13 would officially open as its own high school.

Although Tuesday’s agenda doesn’t include the new elementary school, administrators say the design money is already there so a reallocation vote isn’t needed. It’s still up in the air if that money would go to a new elementary school in Holly Springs or one in Fuquay-Varina.