Wake Ed

Wake County school board buys former Cary movie theater

The Wake County school board agreed Tuesday to buy property for new school sites in Cary and Fuquay-Varina, including the former South Hills Theater.

The board agreed to offer $1.425 million for the former South Hills theater at Buck Jones Road in Cary that’s now used by Connections Church. The use for the 13,421-square-foot building hasn’t been determined, but it’s expected to house a small academic program.

The board also agreed to offer $1.365 million for 21 acres at the intersection of Hilltop Needmore and Johnson Pond roads in Fuquay-Varina. The plan is to build an elementary school there.

The board also agreed to pay an estimated $5.1 million for a new 10-year lease for the former Winn-Dixie supermarket at 931 Durham Road in Wake Forest. The renovated 52,474-square-foot building been used as the ninth-grade center for nearby Wakefield High School since 2007.

The original lease for the Winn-Dixie is set to expire June 30. School officials say no decision has been made on whether they’ll continue to house Wakefield’s freshmen there next school year or if the building will serve a new purpose.

Also on Tuesday, the board agreed to a 10-year lease for 21,756 square feet of space and the parking lot at 5651 Dillard Drive in Cary next to the district’s headquarters complex. The district would pay $348,096 for the first year with the rent increasing 2.5 percent annually.

All the land purchases and lease agreements are subject to the approval of the school board’s real estate counsel. Then the deals would require a vote of approval by the Wake County Board of Commissioners.