Silver City schoolhouse completion delayed |

Silver City schoolhouse completion delayed

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Delays caused by engineering problems and custom-ordering of items has delayed the completion of the Silver City Schoolhouse community center by about a month.

The center, being built to replace the 136-year-old schoolhouse that burned on July 7, 2004, was to be done by Dec. 24.

County Engineer Dick Faber said the target date now is Jan. 23.

Doors and windows that had to be special-ordered to keep with the historic design of the building have been slow in coming. The building is located in the Comstock Historic District and is being built as close as possible to the original.

Faber said the contractor, Building Solutions, could face additional costs of $250 per day unless the county grants an extension. The county has already allowed for one 50-day extension.

Resident Tamara Burnet said that the delay was not a surprise to the community, since the contractor told them in October there would be delays.

“We’re just at a point where we’re grateful that it’s going to get done,” she said. “It’s looking so great, and it feels good. We are going to get things delivered in the next few weeks.”

The original schoolhouse was built in 1867 and served as the town’s school until 1958. It was once a volunteer fire department and eventually became Silver City’s community center, until the 2004 fire – believed to have been sparked by county employees using welding torches to install air conditioning – destroyed it.

After the fire, the 100 or so residents of the historic mining community got together and did extensive archaeological digs on the remains of the building, finding many artifacts and event remnants of a structure that predated the schoolhouse. The findings were all catalogued and much of the salvageable material is being used in the restoration.

Disputes with the county’s third-party insurance carrier, Lloyd’s of London, and their representatives, Alternative Service Concepts of Sparks, led to long delays in the rebuilding process. County commissioners in October 2006 decided to use surplus building maintenance funds to rebuild the building.

In February, Building Solutions LLC of Reno was awarded the contract after offering the low bid of $763,078.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.