School construction crews don't take vacation

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Carson City School District director of operations Mike Mitchell stands in a section of Carson Middle School, which is being renovated in time for the upcoming school year.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Carson City School District director of operations Mike Mitchell stands in a section of Carson Middle School, which is being renovated in time for the upcoming school year.

At Carson Middle School, a host of workers paint, pound and have plenty left to do with little more than a month left in which to do it. Mike Mitchell, Carson City School District operations director, said the major addition and renovation project to the school will be done on time.

"

It better be, because on Aug. 25 we have 1,200 kids showing up," Mitchell said.

He said the $12-$14 million project is much more than just an addition.

Features include an additional 40,000 square feet, stitching together of three middle school buildings, abandonment of portable classrooms, adding a water retention pond, and classroom skylights.

The 160,000-square-foot structure will have skylights in every classroom, saving 80 percent over fluorescent lights and promoting better learning. Mitchell said studies show students learn better in natural light than under fluorescent lighting.

Mitchell, who has been with the district 15 years, said it costs 30 cents per square foot for fluorescent lighting. At Carson Middle School the cost will drop to six cents per square foot due to skylights, resulting in a projected savings of $40,000 a year. The new structure will no longer mix students at three grade levels, instead creating a "schools within a school" building as sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders wind up in separate areas. There also are savings from jettisoning 19 portable classrooms. It costs approximately $6 per square foot to run portable classrooms, and $3 per square foot for permanent ones.

Other Carson City School District projects include $4 million in work at Carson High School that includes new artificial turf at the football/soccer complex; an all weather track; a new heating and hot water system. It also includes fixing some drainage problems and $250,000 in work on the roof and large skylight at Eagle Valley Middle School, which Mitchell noted, will make it more efficient with less of a leakage

problem.

The projects this summer, along with some in the summer of 2007, cover work from a $25 million bond issue passed in 2006, according to Mitchell. Most of the projects were done over 10-week periods this and last summer.

"It's a strange business we're in," Mitchell said. "We will do $25 million worth of work over that period."

Schools in western Lyon County and in Storey County are also being upgraded.

A new wing of Virginia City High School is being constructed, and work is continuing in Lyon County as well, officials from those districts said.

Keith Savage, auxiliary services director for Lyon County School District, said $2 million is being spent on upgrades to Dayton High School, part of a $110 million master plan from a bond issue to cover a decade of work across the county.

"We've been a very fast-growing district," he noted, saying the funds are for catch-up work.

Renovations at Dayton High include a 20 percent expansion of the parking lot, to 200,000 square feet, as well as an all-weather track at the high school.

Storey County Superintendent Rob Slaby and project manager Greg "Bum" Hess of Storey County noted science tech labs, a high school wing and work at the baseball field are under way. Hess said the construction represents some $2.5 million from a rollover bond issue passed a few years ago.

Slaby said the $4 million bond authorization has grown to perhaps $7 million thanks to greater assessed property valuation primarily from an industrial park near Lockwood.

The school wing adds 6,400 square feet to the high school and the Miner's Park baseball field will see expansion, new dugouts, a park concession stand and a sprinkler system. The science labs will be done when classes begin, with the balance of the work later in the calendar year.

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