Carson City schools’ committee blesses purchase of Snyder Avenue site |

Carson City schools’ committee blesses purchase of Snyder Avenue site

Jessica Garcia |
An example of classroom space inside one of the buildings at 1600 Snyder Ave. shows the standard space for students if the Carson City School District were to purchase the property.
Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal

Carson City Superintendent Richard Stokes’ citizens committee that has been meeting in recent weeks stated as a whole Wednesday night that the school district’s board of trustees should purchase the property on 1600 Snyder Ave.

How the facilities should be used after the members explored the site and its neighboring parcels, mulled over its potential for its educational value and adaptability to the community, was still to be determined. Group members still had more questions they asked about Carson City’s development and growth projections and likely scenarios for elementary, middle school and high schools.

Architect Darrin Berger of Carson City firm Berger Hannafin Architecture presented various concepts to prepare the campus at minimal effort for an elementary school, then to upgrade it for a middle school. While some details are still forthcoming, he said the facility isn’t prepared at this time for the district to have any type of campus to move in as-is, he said. For an elementary school, classroom sizes are too small at 550 square feet and would have to be enlarged, more kitchen and library space is needed and the exterior could accommodate a rotation of eight school buses for pickup and dropoff.

However, the auditorium, with its multipurpose space, and its office use has potential, he said.

One of Berger’s concepts incorporating a football field for a middle school or potential high school to ensure athletic and other extracurricular activities held merit but also worried some members.

The committee debated its uses as a performing arts school or sectioning off the auditorium for public use as needed while devoting the rest of the campus for a school.

“This is as close to a turnkey property as we’re going to get,” committee member Todd Myler said. “It’s not perfect. It’s not ideal. It has issues. But we’re not going to find anything as close as being usable without a whole new rebuild.”

Fremont Elementary School Principal Jennifer Ward-DeJoseph, who said to accept the middle school concept would mean keeping the football field with the track and field, said the property size itself is the right size.

“There’s opportunities there,” she said. “We have to be a bigger thinker.”

Berger, who also took a moment to react as a parent rather than an architect, said he appreciated what the site offers as a performing arts school.

“(The whole point is) morphability,” Berger said. “It can morph. We can build a school, (we can add) a second floor for it to be a school. Maybe this question gets answered down the road so it’s a flexible-type addition. I’m taking off my architect hat and putting on my parent hat. … I like what it has to offer and I can send my kids there. But it appeals to me.”

Next week, the Carson City School District’s quarterly Professional Learning Community meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Carson High School library. Stokes will present the results from the committee meetings, and members and Berger are expected to attend.