Wayne Avenue School Will Merge With Harnett Primary

By Emily Weaver
Dunn Daily Record

Wayne Avenue Elementary School will merge with Harnett Primary over the next year. A new wing of classrooms is set to be added to the primary school building. DUNN DAILY RECORD FILE PHOTO

DUNN – Wayne Avenue Elementary will merge with Harnett Primary after the Harnett County Schools Board of Education voted to green light the consolidation in a June 15 meeting. No one spoke at a public hearing before the vote.

The move will add a new classroom wing onto Harnett Primary over the next year and free up the Wayne Avenue school building for Harnett County Early College and its 125 students. The consolidated school will be called Dunn Elementary and will serve pre-kindergarten through fifth grades.

Dunn Elementary will continue to operate on both neighboring campuses until construction of the new classroom wing is completed.

Calvetta Dunkins will serve as principal over Dunn Elementary.

Dunkins

“We are excited about the upcoming merger and look forward to building upon the tradition of the Dunn community,” Dunkins said in the release.

“Mrs. Dunkins has been the principal at Harnett Primary School for the past four years and is invested in the well-being of the students and community,” Harnett County Schools officials noted in a release Thursday.

Dr. Aaron Fleming, superintendent, stated “We appreciate Mrs. Dunkin’s diligence in merging these two school communities.”

Parents and community members will receive more information regarding Dunn Elementary School before the upcoming school year.

The early college currently occupies a building that shows its age with increased wear and tear. It is located at Dunn’s Central Carolina Community College campus at 660 E. Johnson St., which once housed Harnett Primary.

Fleming told board of education members, last year, it wouldn’t sustain the district’s early college students over a long period of time without renovations.

“I love the building, it’s beautiful, but a lot of money will have to be poured into that building in order to keep it sustainable for our students,” he said in May 2021.

The Wayne Avenue-Harnett Primary merger is poised to help the district solve more than one problem.

Harnett Primary is over capacity. It’s home to 578 students ­— over its 527 limit. Wayne Avenue is under capacity. It hosts 282 students and can accommodate 300. The two schools sit side by side.

Wayne Avenue costs “a lot to heat, a lot to chill and a lot of maintenance has been done on that building,” Fleming told the board last year. He initially suggested moving Wayne Avenue’s fourth grade into Harnett Primary and fifth grade into Dunn Middle, but that idea met resistance.

Now, plans call for moving both grades into Harnett Primary.

The merger will include construction of 14 additional classrooms to Harnett Primary to accommodate an extra 350 students. Once improvements are complete, the new Dunn Elementary will be able to host 877 students in the fall of 2023.

The board approved the move unanimously.

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