There was always a lot to learn in the 1800 block of Capital Boulevard, whether the subject was stormwater management at the often-flooded Milner Motel or comparative anatomy at the Foxy Lady lounge.
Both establishments are now gone. And Wake County leaders have a different kind of education in mind for that stretch now—a new high school located in what is now a car dealership, square in the middle of what's envisioned as a revitalized Capital Boulevard.
"This whole area is going to be transformed," Sig Hutchinson, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said during a school board presentation to county officials on April 3.
Not only will a school featuring what school officials described as "innovative approaches" attract students to the area, but the nearby floodplain will also be transformed into a park, according to school officials' presentation. County, city, and state projects are underway that will change the lane configuration of Capital Boulevard, rework the Peace Street and Wade Avenue interchanges, create a northern extension of Person Street, and continue Pigeon Creek Branch cleanup efforts.
"It's really going to revitalize this as a northern gateway," said Betty L. Parker, senior director of real estate services for the school system.
The plan calls for a twelve- to fifteen-hundred-student school to be relocated either in the revamped car dealership or built new on the site. School system officials say the purchase price of about $6.2 million will be offset by years of projected rental income from the car dealership, which will remain open for now.
Parker said the school, which will open in about ten years, will reduce overcrowding at nearby Broughton and Enloe high schools. It will also make use of an ambitious approach designed to hike the system's graduation rate to 95 percent by 2020.
"It trains students not only for the workforce," Parker said of this approach, "but also for the military, for college and higher education, for a number of different apprenticeships."
This article appeared in print with the headline "+POP THE CAP."