Boulder City has been waiting years for a promised high school makeover, only to be told time and again to wait and make do with a 1945 campus.
The community, however, had reason to be hopeful Thursday as the Clark County School District’s Bond Oversight Committee recommended spending much of the $54 million remaining from a 1998 bond issue on the second phase of the school’s four-phase replacement. The Clark County School Board will discuss the expense on Oct. 1 and vote Oct. 9.
“We simply want what every other high school has,” Boulder City High School Principal Amy Wagner told the committee following comments from alumni who talked of their parents graduating from the school in the 1950s, graduating themselves in the 1980s and sending their own children to the little-changing campus.
Students had to move their desks onto the lawn this week, finding it cooler on the grass than in the class, Wagner said.
The public comments helped sway the committee away from an alternate use of the money, spending $29 million to replace 51-year-old Bell Elementary School near Sahara Avenue and Interstate 15. Bell was also made promises in the past.
To the sounds of applause, district leaders gathered at Bell in 2012 to announce plans for a replacement for the school, which had a 90 percent poverty rate.
“Your ZIP code shouldn’t matter. All kids deserve to go to a quality school,” former Superintendent Dwight Jones said at the crowded school, which had more than 20 portable classrooms.
But voters rejected a $669 million property tax increase that year. Bell was told to wait indefinitely.
In addition to Boulder City’s $16.4 million rehabilitation of about 25 classrooms and administrative space, the committee recommended an $18 million elementary school building at West Preparatory Academy.
The school, near Lake Mead and Martin Luther King boulevards, serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade. All elementary students except kindergartners use portable classrooms, according to district Chief Financial Officer Jim McIntosh.
The plan also calls for $4.5 million in additions at Wynn and Ronzone elementary schools, providing more brick-and-mortar classrooms at these crowded campuses. Wynn, near Edna Avenue and Jones Boulevard, is at double its capacity, using 18 portable classrooms to get by. Ronzone, near Jones and Lake Mead boulevards, also is at double its capacity and uses 20 portable classrooms.
A rural Clark County school would also receive some attention. Sandy Valley’s many “unsafe” portable elementary classrooms would be replaced, and the temporary tent-covered gym would be replaced with a permanent gym at a total cost of $4.6 million, McIntosh said.
Thursday’s meeting also included another spending plan for contingencies, using most of the district’s $74.6 million garnered from the hotel room tax, real-property transfer tax and governmental services tax.
The contingency fund was started after Durango High School’s air conditioning failed at the beginning of last school year, causing the school to be closed for almost two days. The plan calls for $61.4 million in planned projects and setting aside $13.3 million for emergencies. Planned expenses include $12 million for new roofs at seven schools and new sewer systems at three schools for a total $6.9 million.
Boulder City residents are just happy with the idea of being halfway done with their upgrade. A new fine arts building is planned in Phase 3 and better sports fields and facilities in Phase 4.
“We’ve sat by and watched school after school get replaced, but our 1940s school is still there,” said a Boulder City graduate whose children attend the school. “We’ve taken care of it really well. Please don’t hold it against us and make us wait even longer.”
Contact Trevon Milliard at email@example.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @TrevonMilliard.