For Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the Former Cary High/Elementary School, 101 Dry Avenue, Cary (Cary Arts Center)
The rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the former Cary High/Elementary School not only preserves an historic building, but continues the legacy of education at the site that began in 1870 when a two-story wooden schoolhouse was built. Known as “Cary Academy” it became the first state-supported public school in North Carolina in 1907. The academy drew students from across the state. In 1939, the current three-story neo-classical revival building was constructed as a Works Progress Administration project. The school served as a high school and, later, an elementary school until it was sold to the Town of Cary in 2003.
In 2006 the Town completed its Town Center Civic and Cultural Arts Study which recommended establishing a cultural center in the old school building. Clearscapes developed a plan that included spaces for performance, rehearsal, exhibition, classrooms and offices, in short, a modern center for the visual and performing arts. Clearscapes’ plan combines old and new, and included restoration of the school’s historic 1939 north façade, which had been altered, as well as rear addition to contain the theater flytower.
The interior, while modified, still invokes the feel of an old high school. Original lockers are retained in strategic locations and the original millwork was kept where possible. The dramatic new two-story entrance lobby features beautiful glass walls etched with images from the site’s educational past created by the public artists the town wisely chose to include on the project team.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2011 Anthemion Award to the Town of Cary; Clearscapes, PA; New Atlantic Contracting, Inc., The Wooten Company, Lysaght & Associates, PA; Sungate Design Group, PA; Theatre Consultants Collaborative, LLC; Jim Hirschfield, Sonya Ishii, Norie Sato for the Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the former Cary High/Elementary School.