Lutheran High School targets August opening

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Although it takes a "vivid imagination," Norm Brauer said Wednesday he can envision where classrooms will be inside Minden's new Sierra Lutheran High School.

What Brauer, who is the school's superintendent and will initially be the principal, doesn't know is how many teachers and students will be in those classes when the school opens in late August.

The high school will conduct classes inside a former Bently Nevada building behind Bently's old creamery in downtown Minden.

With a $5,400 tuition fee set for the upcoming school year, it's unknown how many families will invest in the Christian-based education offered by Sierra Lutheran High School.

However, about 10 families told Brauer their children will be enrolled this fall, he said.

The number of students remains unknown, which means the number of teachers Brauer needs to hire is unknown, he said.

Some of the first applications to prospective students were sent this week, he said.

"That's the trick," he said, regarding enrollment and staffing. "It's a very chicken and the egg" type question.

The school's salary scale for teachers will be very close to that of public school teachers, but just a little higher, Brauer said.

The school will be Douglas County's only private secondary school.

Although the number of teachers is unknown, Brauer said the positions have drawn a lot of interest from area teachers who want to be involved in a "Christ-based education system."

Brauer wants the school to be the "very best that can be found here."

Local Lutheran church and school officials want to offer financial assistance for prospective students.

"We don't want this to just be an (educational) opportunity for the elite," Brauer said.

The school will contain a chapel and provide a required daily religion class, but admission is open to students of all faiths, he said.

Brauer said the 14,000-square-feet building will house classrooms, a science lab, a teachers' lounge and a small library.

The school will have a distance-learning library in which students will use the Internet.

One benefit of taking over the building from a high-tech company like Bently means the school is "wired to the max," Brauer said.

Indeed, bundles of loose wires hang from the ceiling and there are bundles of wrapped cords poking from the building's walls.

A local Eagle Scout also plans to help remove the building's carpet later this month, Brauer said.

The school's site is temporary while work continues toward a planned purchase of land near Sunridge Drive from the federal Bureau of Land Management, he said.

And with "wise use" of the building's space, Brauer said the school can handle more than 100 students for the next three or four years.

Sports teams will be fielded by Sierra Lutheran. The number and type of teams will be dictated by the size and interests of the school's student body, Brauer said.

Sports requiring smaller teams such as basketball and cross country could be played first. Larger team sports such as football and soccer are likely much further away.

Brauer said busing will not be offered initially and parents from areas such as Lake Tahoe and Carson City will be encouraged to coordinate car pooling to drive students to school in Minden.


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