Ill wind may blow by Riverpark school
Appeal Staff Writer
Students at the new elementary school in the Riverpark development may get a whiff of more than a good education.
They may also get a noseful of the nearby Rolling A Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Though Lyon County Utilities has worked hard to minimize odors from the plant drifting toward the school and a planned 13-acre park will separate the two, Utilities Director Mike Workman said it will be impossible to eliminate the smell.
“We’re installing a high-tech odor-scrubbing system, and we’re enclosing some of the odor-creating aspects of the plant,” he said. “But it is what it is. It’s a wastewater treatment plant. There are some open ponds down there, and there will be some odors.”
Lyon County Schools Superintendent Nat Lommori said the olfactory sensations were well vetted before the site – donated by developers Reynen & Bardis – was approved.
“We’ve been assured that it won’t be a major problem,” Lommori said. “I guess I would be burying my head in the sand if I didn’t believe there would be some odor, but it’s been discussed at (the Dayton Regional Advisory Council) and at the commissioners meetings and by our board. There were concerns, and they were addressed.”
Lommori emphasized the park, between the plant and the school site, would provide some buffer.
Former DRAC member Barbara Peck, a Dayton resident and local teacher, said she criticized the location, but since no one else objected, it was approved.
“It’s going to stink,” she said. “It’s northeast of the school, and most of our winds come from the southeast.”
Peck said the site was chosen because it was free.
“They’re not giving us anything,” she said. “They’re giving a piece of property they can’t use residentially. I tried to stop it, and I tried to get the community involved, but no one objected. If nobody objects, that’s what we get. We’re going to have a stinky school.”
Rob Owen, project manager for Reynen and Bardis, did not return calls seeking comment.
Lommori stressed the developers donated the land for both the school and the park, and said the elementary school, expected to cost $9 million to build, was essential to handle the projected increase of students in the Dayton area.
“It will be built for 650, but not that many right away,” he said. “We’re hoping that will provide some relief to the other two schools and leave them all with room to grow.”
The school, to be ready by September, is for grades kindergarten through fifth. The district will rezone the area to move some students from Sutro and Dayton elementary schools to balance the number of students at each school.
Lommori said the school will have the same plan as the new East Valley Elementary School.
“All the classrooms will be very, very nice,” he said, adding that plans called for a large multipurpose room, computer lab and a playground.
“Every room will have Internet access, as we have in all our schools,” he said.
Workman thinks students could be bugged by more than the smell.
“The thing that people are going to be surprised at are the amount of bugs – gnats and mosquitos, that type of thing,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of insects down there at certain times of the year. Some of it’s related to the treatment plant, but most is because we’re right on the river corridor.”
The school district will hold a contest for Dayton students to name the new school, Lommori said. Usually names with geographic or historic significance are favored.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111, ext. 351.