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CSN likely to clear hurdle in bid to build northwest Las Vegas campus

Updated June 6, 2017 - 9:29 pm

Signs heralding the arrival of a new community college campus were posted on a vacant lot in northwest Las Vegas 12 years ago.

Some have since fallen down or needed replacing, but the dream of bringing a 41-acre College of Southern Nevada campus to the lot remained.

“The addition of that college campus will add a huge richness to the area,” said City Councilman Steve Ross, who remembers the original signs being put up. “It will make the community complete.”

The enrichment might take a major step forward on Wednesday, when the Las Vegas City Council is expected to approve an ordinance adopting the development agreement for the Centennial Hills property. That would be a major step forward for the project, though there is currently no timetable for construction.

“This is so exciting,” said Patty Charlton, senior vice president of strategic initiatives and administrative services for CSN. “It’s a project we have been working for well over 10 years.”

The delay occurred as officials waited for a land patent — an exclusive land grant — from Congress to transfer the Bureau of Land Management property to CSN. The adoption of the ordinance on Wednesday will complete that process by permitting the BLM to deed the property to the college.

Big need for ‘bustling’ community

“We want there to be a college out there,” Charlton said. “It’s really bustling out in that area. There’s no higher education in that area of the valley, and the Charleston campus is a good 25 minutes away — sometimes 45 minutes, depending on the day.”

The campus will be half the size of CSN’s three other campuses in Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Charlton said college officials envision it will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math and are working to build partnerships with the nearby Northwest Career and Technical Academy and Centennial Hills Hospital.

“We are working on a number of different opportunities to move forward,” Charlton said.

The master plan for the campus envisions construction of seven buildings, three parking lots and several outdoor collaboration spaces for students. The campus also will be adjacent to the Centennial Hills Park and Ride, giving students who use the service easy access. (Wes Rand/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Sherri Payne, senior associate vice president of facilities management for CSN, said the master plan does not dictate the uses for the buildings.

“That will be determined as the campus grows,” she said.

Construction will await funding

While an approval Wednesday will allow the college to forge ahead, acquiring the funding to begin construction is the next big question, Payne said. The last time CSN received state money for a new building was in 2007.

“There hasn’t been a lot of money over the last 10 years for structures,” Payne said. “Looking forward, we hope the economy starts to get better and that there’s a lot more money for capital projects.”

Officials are eyeing the eastern part of the campus as a starting point, with the first building estimated at 60,000 square feet and a cost of $41 million. According to the agreement, CSN must begin constructing its first building within eight years.

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