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Board approves new building program

The Wake County Board of Education recently approved a new building program designed to meet facility needs of students and staff through 2023. 


The seven-year building program includes the construction of 14 new schools as well as 11 major school renovations. Wake County projects the current enrollment of 157,000 students will increase to 181,000 by 2023.


The 14 new schools include two high schools, two middle schools and 10 elementary schools. The seven-year plan will be reviewed annually to make sure the plan meets current needs.


The 11 major school renovations include Apex High, Fuquay Varina High, East Wake Middle, West Millbrook Middle, Conn Elementary, North Ridge Elementary, Stough Elementary, Vandora Springs Elementary, Wendell Elementary, Wiley Elementary and York Elementary.


A number of the renovation projects will be tied to the use of “swing space,” which is temporary housing for the current school’s staff and students while an existing campus is renovated.


Construction is currently underway on Green Level High using funding from the previous building program. Green Level High will initially serve as “swing space” for Apex High, which is one of the first schools to be renovated in the 2017-2023 building program.


Apex High can move into the Green Level High campus “swing space” in August 2017. Renovations at Apex will begin as soon as the campus is vacant and will take about two years to complete. Once the Apex High campus renovations are complete, staff and students will return to their improved campus in August 2019 and the new Green Level High will open with its own students.


Similarly, construction is currently underway on Bryan Road Elementary, which will serve as swing space for Vandora Springs Elementary. A proposed new high school, H13, will be built early in the new building program to serve as swing space for Fuquay-Varina High.


WCPSS Facilities staff worked closely with Wake County staff to time the projects to fit within a funding model the county created.


The Wake County Board of Education approved the school building program and a resolution seeking funding at its May 31 meeting.


The Wake County Commissioners approved funding for the first two years in a budget ordinance on June 20. Commissioners also offered their support of the seven-year school building program as a long-range planning tool to manage the purchase of land; the expansion, repair and improvement of existing schools; and the construction of new ones.