Tearing it down because it would cost too much to bring it up to code
October 5, 2007
Crews from Advanced Installations of Sparks and Empire Contractors of Incline Village will begin tearing down the old Clear Creek Camp as soon as Monday morning.
The 2007 Legislature and Gov. Jim Gibbons ordered the demolition after testimony that the camp is run down, seriously deteriorated because the state never took good care of it and, now, it would just cost too much to rehabilitate.
But Project Coordinator Ken Scarbrough of Public Works said he disagrees.
“People say they didn’t maintain it. I believe they didn’t upgrade it. It’s exactly what it was when it was built in the 1960s. It’s in good 1960s shape, but it hasn’t been updated, so it no longer meets any code.”
He pointed beneath one of the buildings to a foundation of four-by-four posts in concrete more suitable for a deck than a commercial building.
“Try bringing that foundation up to code,” said Scarbrough shaking his head.
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He said the cost of bringing the entire camp up to code would be greater than razing it and building something new.
Lawmakers put a few hundred thousand dollars in the budget to tear it down reasoning that would at least eliminate the more than $100,000 a year it costs the state to maintain the old camp.
The camp sits on a valuable piece of state land in Clear Creek canyon. While 20 years ago, there were only a half-dozen homes nearby, an upscale subdivision is now being built next door.
Scarbrough said there are 26 “structures” on the site, ranging from a 50 square-foot shed and includes classrooms, seven dorm buildings to hold up to 430 kids, maintenance areas, its own gas station, a kitchen, living quarters for staff and even a sewer plant.
The complex served as the meeting space for community groups including the Boy Scouts and Girls’ State for more than 20 years. Several prominent residents of Northern Nevada spent time there as a child, including Judge Bill Maddox and Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
State Lands Administrator Pam Wilcox said the complex is part of an L-shaped, 120-acre piece of land the state owns in that area – 80 acres south of the freeway and 40 north of it.
Scarbrough said the actual demolition is the easy part of the project.
“Most people think all you have to do is run a bulldozer through here and that’s it. That’s the easy part,” he said.
The hard part – and the reason for the $389,825 price tag – is the asbestos in the ceiling popcorn and wall texturing, the various chemicals discovered during the process, the 40 transformers which could contain dangerous cancer causing chemicals, removal of electrical lines and disposing of all the wreckage. If contaminated, those transformers could cost the state $1,000 apiece to dispose of. If not, they’re actually worth money to the state.
He said he hopes – but somewhat doubts – he has identified all the “surprises.” One of those surprises was the discovery that phone service to 13 homes in the area was provided by connections to the state’s system in one building. The state and AT&T are still discussing who pays to move those lines to an outside distribution panel.
Inside, everything has been stripped, he said. The beneficiaries include other state agencies with old buildings that might need certain fixtures no longer available, the boy Scouts and other such groups.
When the job is done, the three wells and sewer plant will remain, Scarbrough said.
Almost all other evidence of the camp will be gone.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
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