Bryan honored for public service with building dedication |

Bryan honored for public service with building dedication

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, left, and Allen Biaggi, state director of Conservation and Natural Resources, listen to Gov. Kenny Guinn during a dedication ceremony Thursday morning. The new $19 million building, which will house the state Conservation and Natural Resources Department, was named in honor of Bryan.

Citing Richard Bryan’s efforts to protect Nevada’s natural heritage, Gov. Kenny Guinn said Thursday the state’s new Conservation and Natural Resources building is the perfect structure to name in the former governor’s honor

More than 250 people – including many former officials from his tenure as governor – turned out for the dedication honoring Bryan, who served as U.S. Senator, governor, attorney general, assemblyman and state senator during a 34-year career in public service.

Bryan said he was “profoundly grateful” for the honor, and pointed out to Guinn this is the first state structure in Carson City named after a Democratic governor.

“And I’m not unmindful that the banner on the front of this building is a temporary banner,” he said.

Bryan, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 2001, said he was raised in a tradition honoring public service. From Las Vegas High, where he was student body president, to the University of Nevada, where again he was student body president, through the U.S. Senate, he ran in 19 elections.

“All of you made it possible for me to live my dream,” he said. “From the time I was a little boy, I always wanted to be governor.”

“But it is my wife, Bonnie, who has sacrificed the most,” he said. “Without her, none of this would have been possible.”

“There has been a hand of Richard Bryan in so many things,” said Guinn, who ordered the building named in Bryan’s honor.

He said Bryan helped author the Southern Nevada Lands Management Act, which has freed thousands of acres for development in the Las Vegas area while pumping money into conservation across the state – especially in the Lake Tahoe Basin. He said Bryan headed efforts to protect the Galena Creek watershed and Mount Rose from development and created the Black Rock National Conservation Area.

“He has always been a champion of Lake Tahoe and helped bring President Bill Clinton to the forum there in 1997,” he said.

In his initial opposition to the Yucca Mountain waste dump plan, Bryan “left a template for us to follow as the first governor to speak out against the Yucca Mountain Project,” Guinn said.

The Bryan Building is the state’s first built under a lease-purchase contract with the contractor. Instead of bonding for the structure or paying in cash, the state will effectively purchase the building from the developer much the same way a family buys a home – making payments.

Agencies began moving in more than a week ago, even though walls on the top floor were still being textured and painted, high-tech filing systems for legal deeds and maps haven’t arrived and landscaping work was just beginning.

Over the past few days, crews performed minor miracles getting the bushes, trees and other plants in the ground, decorative rock in place and generally cleaning up construction debris.

Department officials said it will be sometime in August before everyone is moved in.

— Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

Bryan Building Fast Facts

• Address: 901 S. Stewart St.

• home to: More than 400 Conservation and Natural Resources Department employees from a half-dozen divisions, the Public Employee Benefits Program staff and two agencies from Business and Industry

• Size: Five floors, 130,000 square feet

• Cost to Build: $20 million

• Mortgage/Lease payment: Starts at just under $1 million a year and rises gradually to $2.5 million in 2030 – $83,333 a month

• term: 27-year mortgage