North Raleigh’s Green Elementary School packs up soon for renovation

sbarr@newsobserver.comApril 7, 2014 

A rendering of soon-to-be renovated Green Elementary School, which is expected to open for the 2016-17 school year.

COURTESY OF MOSELEY ARCHITECTS

— When the school year ends in June, the Green Elementary School community will pack up for their temporary home as the school undergoes a major overhaul.

A $23.7 million renovation for the site will be the first project paid for primarily by the $810 million school construction bond that voters approved last fall. Green is part of the first wave of projects to use that funding.

For two school years, Green will be housed in a modular campus on Spring Forest Road near East Millbrook Middle School. The school is slated to re-open with an array of new features for the 2016-2017 school year.

The renovation means news spaces as well as updates that will cut down on the time school faculty and staff spend tending to facility issues.

“We can really let the staff devote their time to the students,” said Sheri Green, director of planning and design in Wake County Public Schools’ facilities department.

For families at the school and in the surrounding community, one of the most promising changes could be a reworked traffic pattern that includes a longer carpool lane and should make driving smoother for those turning on and off Six Forks Road.

The renovation plan also includes a larger dining space that can be used as a multipurpose room; new classrooms dedicated to the school’s leadership and world languages magnet theme, and new playground equipment.

A redesigned front entrance should make it easier for visitors to find their way around and limit the number of entrances and exits being used.

“It will be nice to be able to offer a building where staff can more easily monitor who is entering and exiting,” Green said.

Clean-up and minor demolition could start at Green as early as this fall, with construction slated to begin in January. The school board approved the design plan last month.

Simon McGrother, the parent of a fourth-grader and chair of the Green PTA’s advocacy committee, said the plan has been well-received at parent and community meetings.

“The design looked beautiful. Everyone is excited about it,” he said.

McGrother hopes the redesign will help sell families on the school. While he thinks the school’s location and magnet program are major attractions, first impressions also count.

A more attractive school would be another point in the school’s favor as it strives to attract middle-class families, he said.

Wake has long used magnet designations as a way to increase diversity by offering academic programs that entice suburban families.

Barr: 919-836-4952; Twitter: @barrmsarah

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