HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN)–It’s a 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 broken ground in Holly Springs.
While it’s a massive construction site now, the land will be transformed to a nearly 300,000 square foot facility that includes professional ice rinks, training rooms, and a boarding school.
“Everything else is coming to the Triangle, so why not here?” laughed Tim Healy.
Healy will be the head of school when the academy opens its doors in Fall 2024.
“There isn’t a place in North America really that is so intentionally designed for ice sports, as this academy is going to be,” he explained.
The boarding school will be somewhat modeled after IMG Academy in Florida, but with a singular focus on ice hockey and figure skating.
Healy said the school has been a dream for five years: a place where 180 boarders and 60 day student-athletes will have access to four NHL grade ice rinks, coaching, and a good education.
“You’ll complete your academic part of your day, and then you’ll have your athletic and performance part of your day,” he added.
Students will also learn leadership skills like financial literacy, interview training, and even how to brand themselves to the outside world, to make them successful on and off the ice.
“So much can be learned through sport preparation that can take them through their entire lives,” said Healy. “Whether it’s on the podium winning a gold medal during the winter Olympics, or whether it’s out here, in red clay pushing to build a school, [we’ll] make sure they’re comfortable and have the expertise to handle it.”
When students aren’t using the facilities, the public will be.
Healy expects the site will be a huge draw to the growing youth hockey and ice-skating leagues in the community, and across the country.
“We’ve seen our local enrollment in hockey probably triple in the last 15 years, but we’ve only gone up one sheet of ice. So, we’re out of ice time in the area,” he explained. “We’ve [also] heard from USA Hockey about wanting to come and host their national championship here. Holly Springs is really going to become a huge destination.”
With the school just about a 30-minute drive from Downtown Raleigh, Healy is also excited about the trickledown effect on the local economy. With each tournament, and event, people will venture to restaurants and businesses, fueling a growing area.
Tuition for boarding school students is expected to run around $60,000 a year. For day students, the cost could be around $30,000 a year.
There will be financial aid available.