Carson City School Board approves Capital Christian letter of intent, deposit
The Carson City School Board has authorized district administrators to move ahead in signing a non-binding letter of intent in the potential purchase of the former Capital Christian Church at 1600 Snyder Ave.
The approval also signifies the district will invest a $50,000 earnest deposit against a purchase price of $5.5 million from the district’s capital projects fund. Once the letter is officially signed by both the seller and buyer, the district officially is on the clock for 90 days to conduct environmental inspections, feasibility studies and other analyses to determine whether buying the property is in the district’s best interest.
Superintendent Richard Stokes presented details of the Capital Christian property to trustees Tuesday night and shared how CCSD could benefit from renovating the buildings on the 10-acre land.
The sale is of particular interest to Stokes and administrators because it would help tackle some of the mounting challenges of student growth Carson City has faced in recent years in a more cost-effective manner. The site presents a tenable solution to eliminating the district’s portable structures, which the community has been opposed to for aesthetic reasons. Also, due to the high cost of construction, the specialized nature of building schools and the limited number of contractors who would be qualified and available to build a new school, the timing of a property for sale such as Capital Christian is worth looking at “in a different lens” to convert into a school campus, Stokes said.
The former church property, which also operated as Redemption Church, closed earlier this year. There are five buildings on 43,800 square feet.
Stokes detailed certain modifications that would have to be made to prepare the campus’ original building.
The original building, built in 1988, houses a gymnasium, kitchen and 15 classrooms and office space. The newer building, constructed in 2009 as Capital Christian’s house of worship, is 16,600 square feet and offers high-quality audiovisual systems that would serve as a performing arts center, Stokes said. Two classroom buildings offer 10 classrooms totaling about 12,000 square feet in all. A smaller building that served as a coffee shop stands out in front of the larger structure. The campus is south of the Pete Livermore Sports Complex.
Stokes said potential considerations as he toured the site and received feedback from the district’s Bond Oversight Committee encompass the property’s actual location, which is in proximity to Northern Nevada Correctional Facility.
Security measures, apparent renovations, scheduling for performing arts uses from the community and the specific tasks to be carried out in the 90-day period were other concerns he’s received.
Trustee Mike Walker voiced concerns about using the campus, if it were to be purchased, for the purpose of an elementary or middle school site.
“We don’t have that many options for where we would build new schools,” he said.
If it were to be chosen as a middle school campus, the school district would need to revisit its shared use policy with Carson City to use the soccer fields and park as part of the Edmunds sports complex, school public information officer Dan Davis noted.
The $5.5 million price should be taken into consideration for the district, Stokes, considering the costs now to build a new school. Estimates, based on current Washoe County numbers, indicate it costs about $40 million to develop an elementary school on a 10-acre site, about $80 million to build a middle school on a 20-acre site and about $200 million to build a high school on a 60-acre site in accordance with national standards, according to Carson City School District finance director AJ Fueling in follow up with the Nevada Appeal.
During public comment on Tuesday, Brian Fox, orchestra director for Carson City schools and a concertmaster for a number of the city’s local concerts, said if the district chose to proceed with buying the property, he felt strongly about being able to use the facilities as a performing arts space.
“This has been an issue for a while,” Fox said. “We do have the Bob Boldrick Center, but scheduling is very crowded, and certainly if one of those buildings (of the former Capital Christian building) would be dedicated to a concert hall, that would certainly open things up scheduling wise, as has been mentioned in the motion.”
Depending on when the letter of intent is signed, the district will have until the end of September to conclude its analysis and findings and will report back to the Board of Trustees as to whether it wants to proceed with the purchase.