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Students at 2 Las Vegas elementary schools to be displaced

Updated June 26, 2020 - 9:47 am

On top of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, two Las Vegas schools have an extra challenge for the upcoming school year — displacing students to temporary campuses.

Hoggard Elementary School in central Las Vegas and Tate Elementary School in the northeast valley are among a handful of Clark County School District schools being rebuilt on their existing campuses. Both projects are slated for completion by Aug. 1, 2021.

While construction is underway, Hoggard students will be moved about 2 miles away to the former Fyfe Elementary School campus. Tate students will move about 1.6 miles away into portable classrooms on Heard Elementary School’s campus.

In a Monday email to the Review-Journal, Clark County School District officials wrote that they make every effort to keep students at their original campus during school replacement projects.

“The decision to move students during a construction project is made on a case-by-case basis,” the district said. “Students are only relocated when the construction activities can not be performed in a safe manner with students remaining on campus.”

The school displacements come as CCSD makes preparations to reopen schools in August. The school district released its reopening plan Tuesday, which proposes having cohorts of students attend school in person two days a week and online from home three days a week. Students would also have the option of full-time distance learning. And the school start date may be pushed from Aug. 10 to Aug. 24.

Harris, Ferron and Harmon elementary schools in east Las Vegas are also getting replacement schools on their existing campuses, but construction won’t displace students. New facilities will open in August 2021 at Harris and Ferron and August 2022 at Harmon.

The projects — along with the Hoggard and Tate replacement schools — are part of the district’s 2015 capital improvement program. Last week, the Oversight Panel for School Facilities approved a request to allow CCSD to issue $400 million more in facilities bonds.

Hoggard Elementary

Phase Two of the replacement project at Hoggard Elementary on North Tonopah Drive is estimated to cost about $37.6 million. The old school — which opened in 1952 — was recently torn down to make way for new construction.

At Hoggard, students help take care of about 150 animals — including chickens, goats, pigs and tortoises — which until recently were housed at the school campus.

Science specialist Kim Law and her family relocated the animals to the temporary campus at Fyfe Elementary. The move came with some logistical challenges — particularly, transporting a 200-pound pig.

Fyfe’s old campus closed a few years ago, and that has allowed other schools to temporarily use it while their buildings were being rebuilt, Hoggard Principal Stacey Scott-Cherry said Wednesday. “We kind of consider it a hotel at this point or like an Airbnb, if you will.”

In May, Hoggard teachers packed up their classrooms, which they hadn’t been able to access since the school closed in mid-March because of the pandemic. The school created a staggered schedule to ensure social distancing during the packing process.

Wasden Elementary School used Fyfe as a temporary facility last school year. Hoggard teachers can’t get into their temporary classrooms to unpack until Wasden’s materials are moved out.

“It’s going to be a mad dash,” Scott-Cherry said.

But she said the magnet school — which has about 450 students — has kept parents informed. “At this point, all of our parents know that we’ve successfully transitioned over to that new campus.”

Tate Elementary

The replacement school at Tate Elementary, which opened in 1971, will be built at the existing campus on Lincoln Road, and the estimated cost is $44.8 million. Before the old school was demolished, teachers packed up their classrooms on a staggered schedule — a project completed in just nine days.

For the upcoming school year, Tate will occupy 56 portable classrooms on the west side of Heard Elementary’s campus, Tate Principal Sarah Popek said Wednesday.

Portable classrooms will be near Lamb Boulevard, which is “obviously very noisy,” she said. “That’s one of the many challenges we’re facing.”

Last school year, Tate had about 875 students. Pre-COVID-19, school officials were expecting about 100 fewer students for the upcoming school year because of zone variances and some students no longer being able to walk to school.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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