Carson City’s Stewart Indian School receives $400,000 |

Carson City’s Stewart Indian School receives $400,000

Stewart Indian School on Tuesday got a $400,000 cash infusion from the Interim Finance Committee.

Sherry Rupert, head of the Indian Commission, told the panel $325,000 would pay to expand the master plan for the historic complex at Carson City’s southern border, creating a marketing and business plan for Stewart and supporting the application to have the complex declared a national historic landmark to ensure its historic treasures are conserved.

She said the money would also develop an interpretive plan for the school.

“It will determine what we do and if we can afford it,” Rupert said. “Decision makers like yourselves should have this information available before you are asked to make decisions. The money will also replace the commission’s phone system which she said is “on its last legs.”

“This is a large amount of money that could go a long way toward dealing with some of the crumbling infrastructure.”Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton

In addition, lawmakers approved spending $75,000 to expand and upgrade the historic building behind the commission’s main offices to provide space for the newly approved museum director and curator for the cultural center that’s being restored.

The money is from the reserves of the Commission on Tourism’s budget.

Altogether, IFC approved $1.26 million in five different programs including $267,254 for the Nevada Arts Council to increase grant awards, set up a new traveling exhibition and fund the council’s 50th anniversary celebration.

But there was some controversy over the remaining two programs — especially the $469,000 for the division of Museums and History to expand the visitor center at the southern Nevada railroad museum in Boulder City.

Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, was one of several lawmakers who questioned that project saying Cultural Affairs has some $10 million in deferred maintenance that probably should take priority over that project.

“This is a large amount of money that could go a long way toward dealing with some of the crumbling infrastructure,” she said.

But Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said he strongly supports the plan and lawmakers “should move forward on this.”

But Carlton was joined by IFC Chairman Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, and Assembly members including Mike Sprinkle of Sparks and James Ohrenschall of Las Vegas, both Democrats.

Rather than defend his support for the project, Roberson threatened to vote against the other projects on the list unless the committee backed the railroad museum money.

Carlton added she thinks doing such a construction project without vetting it through the entire legislature is bad public policy.

“We are doing this outside the Legislature,” she said. “We don’t usually establish whole new projects outside the legislature.”

Sprinkle objected before the vote to what he described as being held hostage.

The committee as a whole supported all the funding in a block motion but with Carlton and four other assembly members opposed. Had they gotten one more vote from the Assembly members, the motion would have died.