Many months of hard work are finally paying off for Silver City residents as the start of construction of the new schoolhouse community center is moving closer to fruition.
The original historic schoolhouse on High Street, which had been used as the town's community center, burned down last year.
Immediately after the fire, the town's residents - numbering about 100 - got together to work toward the rebuilding. They formed committees to clean up debris, preserve and catalog any salvageable material, perform an archaeological dig, and prepare a report on the entire process. They also worked with Lyon County officials to choose an architect and put the project up for bid.
On Monday, the plans and artist's rendering of the new schoolhouse community center were approved by the Comstock Historic District Commission. Bert Bedeau, district administrator, noting that the new building will look very much like the old one, praised the efforts of all involved.
"Looks like they did an excellent job of doing that," he said.
The only bid on the project was for $895,996 from Reyman Brothers Construction of Sparks, which has done many rebuilding or restoring of historic properties.
"If we only have one (bidder), at least it's a good one," said Ron Reno, a University of Nevada, Reno professor of archaeology and a Silver City resident. Reno led the archaeology committee on the schoolhouse project.
According to Lyon County Comptroller Joshua Foli, all information on the schoolhouse project has been sent to the county's insurance carrier, ASC Business Insurance Services Inc. of Sparks, for review.
Foli said the commissioners would take up the issue once the insurance review was complete.
Lee Johnson, estimator for Reyman Brothers Construction, said the company specializes in historic buildings and incorporating salvaged material into the new schoolhouse community center shouldn't pose a problem for them.
"It's a building that burned down, and it won't be a true historic building, but it's a building that will have the historic look," he said. "Most of the material that has been saved is Douglas fir flooring, which can be reused. It just takes some effort to make sure it goes back together the way it came apart."
Johnson said some of the old stonework in the foundation will be original.
Among the historic properties in the Comstock Historic District on which Reyman Brothers Construction has worked are the Historic Fourth Ward School, Piper's Opera House and St. Mary's Art Center, all in Virginia City. It has also done masonry work on the Bank of California building in Gold Hill.
"We like working in Virginia City and Silver City," he said.
The original schoolhouse was built in 1867, and was a school until 1959. The building caught fire on July 7, 2004, after Lyon County Public Works employees used soldering irons to connect copper pipes to new air conditioners. Either the torches or the hot pipes started the fire, according to fire investigators.
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• ASC Business Insurance Services Inc. of Sparks is reviewing the bid and plans.
• Lyon County Commissioners will act on the schoolhouse project once the insurance review is complete.