Local groups hoping for shared vision for Stewart

While state officials have insisted the old Stewart Indian School off Snyder Avenue is destined to become state offices, other local groups are hoping the state may eventually buy into a shared vision for the property.

Tuesday, members of the Carson City Historic Architecture Review Commission toured the Stewart facility. Transferred to the state from the federal government in 1982, the school was added to the national register of historic places in 1985 and to the city's historic district in 1990. HARC is the local governing agency responsible for monitoring the upkeep of local sites on the national register, said commission Chairman Mike Drews.

Stewart has a hodgepodge of state and non-profit tenants using some of its roughly 65 colorful rock and wood buildings.

Drews and other members would like to see a master plan designed for the site that includes a preservation plan for the historic buildings. Commission members expressed concerns over the disrepair of several of the historic buildings on the site.

Sheila Abbe, director of the Stewart Indian School Museum, went as far as to say the state hasn't maintained Stewart in compliance with federal historic regulations.

Drews said he is part of an ad hoc committee which includes Secretary of State Dean Heller, Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt, Abbe, several city and state offices and other interested residents, working on a vision for Stewart.

Recent scuttle from the city indicates an interest in Stewart as a potential site for the Carson City Fairgrounds and Fuji Park. Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens said the city has some preliminary plans for the site, although state officials still insist that Stewart is for offices.

"The wrong thing for the state to do is let a facility like Stewart fall into neglect," Drews said. "I know there are a lot of different interests out there. By partnering, the state could probably do more than they could alone. I don't care what the state does with it, they need to make sure they maintain its historic integrity. They should see themselves as stewards of the property rather than property owners."

Ultimately, neither the commission or the ad hoc Stewart committee has much of a say in Stewart's future.

"There's not a lot we can do," Drews said. "We're going to put together a preservation plan and will submit it. We need to get (state public lands and buildings and grounds) to the same table and get the same vision. Once we get a shared vision, I think this could work. With a good master plan, we can start to piecemeal it together."

However, Mike Meizel, administrator of state buildings and grounds which maintains the facility, said the state has recently prepared a master plan for Stewart which should be presented to the State Board of Examiners in early November.

"We've always had a plan," Meizel said. "The difference with this is we want to commit to a picture of what is available for future development. With all the interest in Stewart, we thought we should commit to something in writing. Like any master plan, it will undoubtedly be changed. A master plan is never complete."

Meizel says he sees Stewart's future as office space, both new buildings constructed on Stewart open space and occupying the historic buildings. He doesn't see many of the nonprofit organizations housed in some of Stewart's buildings as a permanent addition.

"In the short-term, they'll stay, but not in the long-term," Meizel said. "They all have short-term leases."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment