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Future of Bordewich-Bray Elementary School to be decided

Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

The future of Bordewich-Bray Elementary School is up in the air — again.

Members of the Carson City School Board voted earlier this week to remove five modular buildings infested with toxic mold. Roughly 600 students pass through the buildings daily to attend music, English as a second language or a variety of other classes and use the library.

But it’s not the first time teachers and students at the school have been displaced.

Nearly 20 years ago, teachers were told the two-story building had been condemned and were instructed to remove the contents immediately.

In the ensuing years, programs and classrooms were held anywhere space was available, including the garage and in old Army barracks at the Gleason Complex.

The school finally settled into an eight-building campus, stretching roughly the size of a city block.

Now, classes are being shuffled again. Three forms of toxic mold were discovered lurking inside the walls of the five modular buildings in late November after speech therapist Cheryl Euse reported a foul smell.

Her class has since been moved to a modified storage closet. Still, the 15-year veteran can see the silver lining.

“The adversity is not something you’d ask for,” she said. “But I know everything we’ve dealt with has made us a very strong staff and school.”

And she’s hoping something positive will come out of it.

School officials and board members are considering two basic options: replace the moldy modulars with new portable classrooms or build a permanent addition to the Bordewich building.

“We all feel pretty encouraged that something wonderful could come out of this,” Euse said. “If, in the long run, we could have an actual school building, it would all be worth it. That’s our definite hope.”

Principal Sue Keema said a permanent addition would eliminate the problems caused by a multi-building campus spread out over a large area including lost teaching time when students have to travel between buildings, exposure the elements and the danger of walking through bus lanes.

“Carson City is a quality town,” she said. “We’re promoting quality in our downtown redevelopment and in our growth plan. Education needs to be a part of that quality attitude and a building says that.”

Mike Mitchell, the school district’s director of operations, said replacing the modulars would cost about $750,000 and take about four years to acquire all five. The addition would cost around $3.75 million and would probably be ready in the summer of 2004.

Various funding options are available including selling a parcel of land on Highway 50 and the Gleason Complex. If an addition were built, programs at the Gleason Complex would be housed at Bray as would student support services, which is now at Seeliger Elementary School, freeing up more space there.

Bordewich Elementary School is 62 years old and has served as both Carson Junior High and Carson High School over the years.

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You Can Help:

Carson City School District officials are looking for comments from the community in deciding how to replace modulars at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, which are infested with toxic mold. To share ideas and comments with Superintendent Mary Pierczynski or Director of Operations Mike Mitchell call them at 283-2100 or fax them at 283-2090. They can also be reached through e-mail: marypierczy@carson.k12.nv.us or mmitchell@carson.k12.nv.us.

Options:

Replace existing modulars with new ones.

Pros —

— Relatively inexpensive. It will cost about $750,000 and will be paid for by taking $200,000 from the district’s $500,000 building maintenance budget each year for four years.

Cons —

— The district will lose about 40 percent of the money required for maintenance on its other nine campuses.

— Replaces temporary structures with other temporary structures. Portable classrooms have a life expectancy of about 25 years.

— Portable buildings are more expensive to maintain and operate. It costs $2 to $3 to per square foot to operate a portable and $1.50 to $1.75 to operate a permanent one.

An addition to the Bordewich building.

Pros —

— Less expensive to operate, heat and cool.

— Disjointed campus with eight buildings would be condensed into one.

— The Bray complex could be used to house student services and free up space at Seeliger Elementary School, the district’s largest elementary school.

Cons —

— Will cost about $3.75 million to build.

— May require passage of bond. The bond would not increase current tax rates but rates would not drop as quickly as they will without the bond.