HOLLY SPRINGS, NC (WNCN) — This is the first of its kind: a special school, for competitive ice sports athletes to hone their skills, while getting a good education.
Calvert Ice Academy has already paved the way for Holly Springs.
Although now a huge construction site, the land will be transformed into a nearly 300,000 square foot facility including professional ice rinks, training rooms and a boarding school.
“Everything else happens at the Triangle, so why not here?” laughs Tim Healy.
Healy will be the school principal when the academy opens in the fall of 2024.
“There really isn’t a place in North America that’s as intentionally designed for ice sports as this academy will be,” he explained.
The boarding school will be somewhat modeled after IMG Academy in Florida, but with a particular emphasis on ice hockey and figure skating.
Healy said the school has been a dream for five years: a place where 180 boarders and 60 daytime student-athletes will have access to four NHL-level rinks, coaches and a good education.
“You will complete your academic part of your day and then you will have your athletic and performance part of your day,” he added.
Students will also learn leadership skills such as financial literacy, interview training, and even how to market themselves to the outside world to succeed on and off the ice.
“There’s so much to learn through athletic preparation that can carry them through life,” Healy said. “Whether it’s on the podium winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, or whether it’s here on red clay pushing to build a school, [we’ll] make sure they are comfortable and have the expertise to deal with it.
When students are not using the facilities, the public will be.
Healy expects the venue to be a huge draw to youth hockey and ice skating leagues from the community and across the country.
“We’ve seen our local hockey registration probably triple over the past 15 years, but we’ve only climbed one layer of ice. So we don’t have ice time in the area anymore,” he explained. ” We have [also] heard from USA Hockey wanting to come and host their national championship here. Holly Springs is really going to be a huge destination.
With the school about a 30-minute drive from downtown Raleigh, Healy is also excited about the ripple effect on the local economy. At every tournament and event, people will venture into restaurants and businesses, fueling a growing region.
Tuition for boarding school students is expected to be around $60,000 per year. For day students, the cost could be around $30,000 per year.
Financial aid will be available.