A new community is planned for Carson Middle School

By the 2008 school year, seventh-grade teacher Tedra Cook's students will no longer have to dash through the snow for her English lesson.

Cook's classroom will move into the main building at Carson Middle School, something she has waited for the past three years.

"We have one of the older portables that leaks and sounds like a freight train is coming through in the wind," Cook said Tuesday. "When it's windy the kids ask if they are safe.

"It's time to retire the old beast."

After the completion of the middle school's 40,000-square-foot expansion, which will connect all three school buildings and provide more classroom space and a new cafeteria, 19 Carson Middle School teachers will join the "school community," all under one roof.

The $12 million expansion is funded by a bond approved in November 2006, which also allocated money for drainage and athletic improvements to Carson High School and roofing and air conditioning upgrades throughout the district.

For about 15 years, the middle school has used 11 portable buildings to house the overflow of students. Boards on the deck are coming loose, heaters are quitting and teachers are feeling isolated from the school. One-third of the sixth-graders are housed in the portables.

Soon the middle school's 1,140 students will be separated into their own wings and will not be traveling as much around the campus for classes, officials said.

That means Cook will join a wing devoted just to seventh grade and will be able to collaborate with other teachers on educational strategies for students. The "schools within a school" concept is being implemented in districts across the nation.

Principal Sam Santillo said this concept is best for teachers, students and parents, who worry about their younger teens interacting with older students.

"This just keeps kids in their own areas," he said. "This gives us a better tool to monitor the whereabouts and behavior of students."

Administration offices will also be moved to the front of the building, to better monitor guests. Santillo said Carson Middle School will have a more secure entrance.

Mike Mitchell, the Carson City School District director of operations, said site work will start in June, with completion expected in August 2008. Until then, a construction zone will occupy the center of the middle school.

"There will be noise - but it'll be safe and there shouldn't be any interruptions (to classes)," he said.

The 11 modular buildings, ranging in age from 15 to 25 years, will be sold.

City planners are reviewing the expansion next week. It's expected to go before the planning commission in May for a special-use permit. The next informational public meeting is at 2:45 p.m. April 18 in the middle school library, off West King Street. For information, call the operations department at 283-2120.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Where will your middle schooler be

in 2008?

• Sixth-graders

Few changes will be made to the sixth-grade wing, which is located west of the main building. The cafeteria will be remodeled into science classrooms. A new choir room and cafeteria will be located north of the sixth-grade wing. A courtyard will be added.

The unified arts building will remain as elective classrooms. This will be the only wing where students of different grades will take classes together.

• Seventh-graders

Will be housed in the wing at the south end of the main building. The existing administrative offices will be converted into classrooms.

New offices will be built at the front entrance.

• Eighth-graders

Will be housed at the north end of the main building.

• The 40,000-square-foot expansion will connect the three existing buildings. This doubles the space available with the portable units.

Projected completion: August 2008

- Source: Carson City School District


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