School officials are taking the first steps in placing a question on this year's ballot, asking voters to approve a $25 million bond for an addition to Carson Middle School and repairs throughout the district.
The Carson City School Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to seek approval by the city's debt management committee.
The bond money would be used over the next four years to cover school improvement costs not covered in the capital projects fund, which operates on a budget of about $700,000 a year.
"We're can't save enough money to accommodate big-ticket items," said Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the school district.
If approved by voters, the bond would not increase property taxes in upcoming years. Property taxes are capped at a 3 percent increase annually, regardless of the change in rates of groups benefiting from them.
The school district's top three priorities include building an addition to Carson Middle School to replace outdated portable buildings, as well as fixing the roof and installing a reliable energy-efficient heating system at Carson High School.
The largest portion of the bond is earmarked for replacement of portables of about 25,000 square feet at Carson Middle School with brick-and-mortar rooms. About 300 students use the portables on a daily basis. The structures are old, nails stick up from the deck and boards need replacing. There is no storage and the rooms are cold.
The cost to replace the portables is estimated at about $12 million and would result in new classrooms being constructed contiguous with the main building.
Nearly two-thirds of the roof at Carson High School needs replacing after the last overhaul in 1992. Patches of black tar spot the roof, which is reaching the end of its 15-20 year lifetime, according to Mitchell.
"Every week we are on our roofs dealing with leaks," he said.
Of the $4 million set aside in the bond for roof overhauls at district schools, half would go to Carson High School and the other half to Seeliger and Empire elementary schools and Eagle Valley Middle School. The district spends about $200,000 annually in roof maintenance. If the bond is not approved, the roof would be recoated at a cost of $20,000 with money from capital projects.
The bond would also replace Carson High School's three 1971 boilers, one of which is not working at all, with two energy-efficient ones.
"If one of these (other) boilers broke down right now, we don't have the back up for it and essentially we'd lose heating for the school," Mitchell said.
The $1 million allotted for the new heating system would cover the cost of the two boilers plus placement in a new boiler room, paid for in the 2000 $18 million bond. A new air-conditioning unit was installed in 2000 at Carson High School with that money.
Of the $500,000 annual cost to the district to heat Carson High School about 20 percent of it, or $100,000, is wasted due to inefficiency. Mitchell said the new boilers would recoup that cost and pay for the new system in 10 years.
A third project at Carson High School, but not ranked top priority, is replacement of the drainage system on the track field. In January, the entire center of the track filled with water. It took three days to pump out.
Also, the bleachers need to be updated and made handicap accessible. Before large events, school officials walk the wooden planks to check for problems. The bleachers are partial aluminum and partial wood.
• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Proposed $25 million bond
$12 million: To replace portable classrooms at Carson Middle School with actual brick-and-mortar buildings
$7 million: To replace or repair heating and air-condition units throughout the district, including $1 million to improve Carson High School's heating system
$4 million: To repair roofs at Carson High School, Eagle Valley Middle School and Empire and Seeliger elementary schools, including $2 million for the high school
$2 million: To improve drainage on the track field at Carson High School as well as install new bleachers