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Wake County School Construction Will Be Delayed

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RALEIGH — Wake County is having trouble buying land for new schools, and as a result, the opening of at least three new elementary schools will be delayed. In addition, two others currently being built may be delayed by construction slowdowns.

Wake County officials said Tuesday that the new elementary schools would now open in 2004, rather than 2003

On Tuesday, the school board voted to spend $400,000 for 20 acres in Apex, near the intersection of N.C. 55 and Turner Creek Road, but officials say the school to be built there also cannot be opened until 2004.

The county also wants to build an elementary school in Briarcreek, near Raleigh-Durham Airport, and another school in that part of the county as well.

Two middle schools under construction, Reedy Creek and Holly Ridge, may not open on time due to construction delays.

The slowdown in construction, coupled with a rapid rise in enrollment, could force the school system to use more trailers for a temporary solution.

The delays at Reedy Creek and Holly Ridge could also affect other plans. The school system had planned to move students from Fuquay-Varina Middle School to Holly Ridge and students from Cary Elementary School to Reedy Creek temporarily, while those schools undergo renovation.

All of the new schools are part of an expansion of the school system, which is primarily being funded by a $500 million school bond, which was approved in November by voters. Under the plan -- known as Plan 2000 -- Wake County will build 14 new schools and renovate 96 existing schools by 2004.

Officials say that the plans are largely on target, but land acquisition has been a problem. They also pointed to the political environment in western Wake County, where development has been discouraged in several towns.

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