Silver State Charter Schools denied permit to build near Carson airport |

Silver State Charter Schools denied permit to build near Carson airport

by Teri Vance

Silver State Charter Schools will not be building its proposed 65,000-square-foot campus adjacent to the Carson City Airport, following a decision by city supervisors Thursday.

“I’m really surprised,” said the charter school’s executive director Steve Knight after the meeting. “I’m really disappointed because we’ve set up some pretty good partnerships, so I hate to move to Douglas County. That’s our other option.”

Supervisors overturned the planning commission’s earlier approval of the project after listening to an impassioned plea from a neighboring business owner and concerns from the airport.

Scott Tate, owner of the Com-stock Casino, said his property line was about 100 feet from the boundaries of the proposed school site.

He worried that any future development of his business could be turned down by the Nevada Gaming Commission because of its proximity to a school.

His concern, however, was not purely economical.

“We recognize the importance of a school,” he said, becoming emotional as he explained he was the first in his family to graduate high school. “I’ve seen the power of education. I’m living proof of it.

“I also know the power of underage gambling. It’s very detrimental. This is not the right thing to do.”

Knight explained the airport was the best place for the school, which has an emphasis on aerospace and high-tech programs.

The charter school, built in 2003, has grown from about 40 students to around 550 and now includes a junior high. It is a hybrid school, where students take classes online but are also required to come into the school at least once a week.

The airport authority denied the school’s plan in May, citing safety concerns. School officials said they resolved the concerns, and the planning commission approved the special-use permit in December.

However, representatives from the airport spoke Thursday saying they still opposed the plan.

“I’m beginning to feel like we’re trying to push a square peg through a round hole, and that disturbs me,” said Supervisor Shelly Aldean. “Sometimes, when things are too difficult, it’s not meant to be.”

She called the school “a wonderful thing,” and offered her services to help find a more suitable location.

Knight said he would prefer to stay in Carson City, which is more centrally located for his students, but has the option of building near the Minden Airport.

“I hope the city will work with us in finding something else,” he said. “I know we’re doing something right, we just need to find a place to do it.”