The Carson City School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday
tabled action on authorizing Superintendent Richard Stokes to negotiate the
purchase of the 1600 Snyder Ave. property and delayed the item until further
budget discussions have been completed.
The board has been considering the former Capital Christian
property since last June, and the process has seen the formation of a citizens
committee, tours of the property and feasibility studies to ensure its safety.
“This project has taken a backseat as we have changed some
of our school options and opportunities in the last two months,” Stokes told
the board Tuesday night.
The sellers originally proposed an asking price of $5.67
million for the five-building site on the 10.2-acre land. The property first
was owned by the Bureau of Land Management through a land patent and has been
designated for use as a church or school.
The district most recently completed an appraisal and a
90-day feasibility study and received test results from an environmental study on
the site, and it was found to be in good to excellent condition.
The phase one and phase two environmental studies conducted
on the property, which once served as an unauthorized dump in the 1940s, showed
minor concentrations of lead at 420 mg/kg, which is 20 mg/kg above the
Environmental Protection Agency’s preliminary remediation goal.
Staff reports state exposure to dust was most likely to
happen through breathing or ingesting near the landfill on the property. The
phase one study called for a phase two study to identify any soil and
groundwater contaminants that could cause harm to inhabitants on the site in
the event of redevelopment.
“A remediation condition for that would be to put a cap of asphalt as part of that, and that has been done and exists today,” Stokes reported.
The study was conducted by Converse Consultants of Reno,
which did not see a need for further subsurface testing, according to staff
A committee in September that examined the site with Stokes
and board members provided input about potential uses and the type of facility
for which the Carson City School District might use it, and it was ultimately proposed
favorably as a potential elementary school. The tour group examined its
geographic location in Carson City, potential physical needs with furniture,
parking, technological infrastructure and programming. Local engineers and
architects have inspected the property to assess its structural integrity,
feasibility and challenges in completing the project.
In recent months, administrators emphasized there will be anticipated
growth in Carson City in the next five to 10 years. They have suggested the
property would best serve as an elementary or middle school to address
overcrowding, and the trustees had expressed interest in potentially the
property before the coronavirus presented in March.
The board also was presented with possibilities of opening the campus’ former worship facility as a performing arts center to the public as a revenue source with its available seating, staging and audiovisual capabilities. In general, the campus itself requires little upkeep and minor modifications to become a viable school complex.
But at Tuesday’s meeting, while some expressed they
understood the practical need for it in the long run, they worried about public
perceptions by making a large capital improvement investment after Gov. Steve
Sisolak declared a state of fiscal emergency Monday.
“I feel like we’re going to have to do a lot of explanation
to individuals,” Trustee Lupe Ramirez said. “Maybe we need clear guidance or
Trustee Don Carine said he felt Carson City might have a
need for a facility of its size in the future.
AJ Feuling, chief financial officer, clarified for the
board that it has the authority and ability to make such purchases from
“We have very specific funds, about 20 different funds, and
each fund has a very specific purpose, to make this kind of (capital) purchase
and do some improvements,” he said. “Those funds are clearly deposited into
these funds. … We can’t fund regular school district operations from those
Trustee Laurel Crossman remained optimistic that Snyder was
still worth considering.
“I think it’s still a good purchase,” she said. “The
appraisal price came in lower than what we planned, and we planned for this. I
think the most difficult thing we’ll face is just helping the public to
understand that money can only be used for capital projects.”
Stokes also disclosed at the meeting that he had been
contacted by a citizen who likewise has interest in purchasing the property.
“I didn’t want us to lose out to someone who may be a
competing interest,” Stokes said. “And if you think just before times got bad,
we were wondering if we might have enough space, and we were wringing our
hands, having this as an asset was something we were interested in, our
operational budget and capital projects budget, this is something we were at
least needing to review prior to losing to another competing interest.”
Funding for the purchase would be made available through the
2010 Rollover School Bond, which was renewed and the funds from which the
district can continue to access through 2030, Stokes said.
In other discussion or action items from Tuesday’s board
The school board was introduced to the construction manager
at risk, CORE Construction, selected by Eagle Valley Middle School’s evaluation
committee for the site’s expansion and remodel project. CORE Construction will
assist with concepts to add classroom and office space, a STEM lab and room for
storage at what is expected to cost about $8.2 million as budgeted in the
capital improvement plan. The project will help ease capacity issues at Carson
Middle School in the next few years.
The board approved the renewal of the ground lease renewal
for the Greenhouse Project on the Carson High School campus for a term of five
years through June 30, 2025. The lease, originally set for three years, was
amended and extended and renewed again in 2016. The Greenhouse Project provides
a horticulture lab at CHS and supports the school’s Future Farmers of America
program and supplies materials and offsets students’ state and national