The Carson City School District’s Facilities Master Plan Committee has made its final recommendations for building and maintenance needs. Superintendent Andrew Feuling said they will be considered during the Board of Trustees’ Capital Improvement Plan discussion Tuesday, May 23.
Projects are prioritized according to the district’s financial constraints while ensuring student and staff safety, health and comfort, educational program needs and energy and operational safety, Feuling told trustees May 9.
The Fritsch Elementary and Carson Middle school campuses are nearly 70 years old and Carson High is coming up on 50 years old. All district facilities are at least 30 years old, Feuling said.
“While we have to think about maintaining those facilities, while it would be nice to say we could replace all these eventually, with the property tax caps that are currently in place, it likely won’t go away and continues to squeeze funding over time,” he said.
High schools being built in Washoe County now cost about $250 million, and Carson City can’t afford to do the same, he said. The district had the funding to build Empire, Fremont and Mark Twain elementary schools between 1988 and 1992, but those dollars aren’t available today, he said.
Marty Johnson of JNA Consulting Group, the district’s bond consultant, said Carson City has a bonding capacity of a $25 million issuance this summer or fall with another $12.5 million available by 2027. There is $5 million remaining from its last bond.
The Facilities Master Plan document encompasses overall district projects at a cost of $3 million for assessments on its properties or ones to acquire in upcoming months. Examples include heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs for Carson High School, alarm systems and security camera refreshing or to purchase 10 acres of the former Lompa Ranch.
Carson High projects make up the largest portion of the plan at $19.3 million and include replacing gym bleachers, HVAC system upgrade, tenant improvements, restroom remodels and baseball/softball field upgrades.
Other school campus upgrades range from $150,000 for Pioneer Academy to $1.8 million for Bordewich Elementary School – the most expensive for its special education and restroom remodeling needs. Fritsch Elementary has a $700,000 price tag for repairs to its parking lot, tenant or site improvements and pre-kindergarten playground.
The district’s office and transportation’s bus barn also need repairs.
Feuling said other items under consideration but not included in the total are a performing arts center ($20 million) and small gym remodel ($5 million) at CHS.
Trustee Mike Walker said coordinating scheduling for sports and recreation will help get the best use out of facilities for now.
“It’s hard to say, ‘Is soccer more important than baseball?’ All those things are needed,” Walker said. “What might be helpful is to prioritize some of those and to ask are we really utilizing some of those campuses in peak weather? Maybe a little bit of coordination is going to serve the community a little bit better.”