The Churchill County School Board met Thursday evening at its first regularly scheduled meeting of October with the hot topic of the night concerning the prioritization of 2014 Summer Bond Projects.
Discussion on the projects, though, became heated and drawn out. The discussion lasted for more than an hour on what projects should be done. All board members as well as physical education teachers, a substitute teacher, the athletic director, a concerned parent and a member from the Master Plan Task Force focused on the auxiliary gym at Churchill County High School.
Supporters stressed there isn’t enough room in the current gym for all of the students taking P.E. or for the athletic clubs. One teacher stressed there can be an excess of more than 100 students in the gym at one time, and there are safety concerns as well as the lack of ability for physical activities when the gym is packed.
Anne Smith, physical education teacher and varsity girls basketball coach, described a day in the gym,
“During the winter our gym is packed, we have kids exercising in the hallways, we have classes in the foyer,” she said. “If our numbers are large, we don’t have any room in the gym so we’ll have kids sitting against the wall. It’s pretty packed in there ... we’re concerned about safety.”
Gary Lanners, a substitute teacher, gave his experience from substituting in the P.E. classes,
“I was struck a couple of times in the indoor soccer class,” he said, “I was hit twice and kicked many times.”
“We’re not asking for the Taj Mahal, we’ve already got one ... obviously, but we need a gym, an auxiliary gym. We’re one of the very few schools in Northern Nevada that doesn’t have an auxiliary gym for physical education and athletics.”
An auxiliary gym won’t only correct the safety hazards that come along with an over crowded gym, but supporters also said it will also provide adequate storage for the equipment that the teachers use as well as the coaches.
Pleas from supporters included CCHS Athletic Director Brad Daum.
“We’re asking for an auxiliary building that we need now,” Daum said. “We need a building for these folks to effectively teach a physical education class. Also, to allow our athletic programs and extracurricular activities be effective and get our students home at a decent hour.”
He cited the many programs that are held in the existing gym. Basketball, wrestling, Navy JROTC, drill, dance teams and more.
Rich Evans, a parent and high school teacher, is also concerned,
“After my son started P.E. I’d ask him how it was and he’d say ‘it was horrible dad’ and what do you mean it’s horrible? He’d say, ‘There are so many people in there that there is nothing to do and I don’t want to take it again’ and he didn’t,” Evans said.
“My daughter is a sophomore and she is doing everything she can to avoid taking it because she knows how horrible it is.”
Eric Olsen of the Master Plan Task Force said that he and his team went to every school and evaluated each site to see what improvements are needed. After doing this, the MPTF came up with a list for the board. The MPTF reviewed all of the concerns made by the principals and the teachers. Both teachers and the high school principal, Kevin Lords, voiced their concern about the need for an auxiliary gym.
The deliberation continued without resolution, but other topics were brought up including renovations at E.C. Best Elementary and Northside Early Learning Center, renovations at West End Facility, bathroom renovations at the high school, secure main entry for accessed control at Numa Elementary and asbestos removal in the floor at Churchill County Middle School.
After the long and seemingly endless discussion, the board selected the three top priorities: An auxiliary gym for the high school, bathroom upgrades for the high school and renovations for E.C. Best Elementary and Northside Early Learning Center.
Other topics either discussed or approved include the following.
Discussed approval of grazing lease on the property located at Rio Vista Road. It was noted to hold off on the lease until it is decided if the property can be grazed on.
Discussed establishing a Board Finance Advisory Committee. It has not been decided if trustees will follow through with a committee, but the topic will continue to be discussed.
Approved cellphones for all board members. A smart phone with unlimited data costs $49 per month.