Productions at the Las Vegas Academy have dealt with serious fictional material such as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
But the current condition of the roof over the gymnasium at the downtown magnet high school for performing and visual arts is fodder for real-life drama.
The Las Vegas Academy, a historical landmark that opened as the original Las Vegas High School in 1931, has “one of the nastiest roofing situations I’ve seen in a long time,” said Paul Gerner, associate superintendent of facilities for the Clark County School District.
In rushing to fix the leaky problems at the campus at Seventh Street and Bridger Avenue, Gerner said mistakes have been made.
“I pressed pretty hard to get a simple, quick solution,” he said. “In trying to accelerate the process, I actually made it slower.”
Approval for improvements to the roof — including skylights and a heating and air-conditioning system — is on today’s Clark County School Board agenda after being delayed in October when concerns were raised that the project was way over cost projections.
According to board documents, the upgrades were projected to cost $335,000. The lowest bid, from Ryan Mechanical, was $588,000.
Replacing the roof was projected to cost $364,00. But the lowest bid, submitted by the Original Roofing Co., was $441,144.
Gerner said there was a failure to get updated cost estimates. When a project is at 95 percent design completion, the architect or design consultant is supposed to be asked for an updated “probable cost.” That did not happen.
“I don’t know how that slipped through the cracks, but it slipped through the cracks,” Gerner said.
For the new skylight and heating and air conditioning system, Gerner said he recently got an updated cost estimate of $650,000.
School Board members wanted more information on the necessity of some features, such as an internal shutter to close the skylights.
“We have to look at every single dollar,” said School Board member Sheila Moulton. “I think the last two years have shown that we need to be very careful.”
The roof replacement was also pulled from the agenda because of design issues.
School Board members also questioned why the project did not go back to the district’s Bond Oversight Committee for reconsideration.
Jeff Weiler, the district’s chief financial officer, said if the changes “were worth millions of dollars, obviously we would have felt it was worth going back to them.”
School Board member Larry Mason interrupted Weiler at the Oct. 22 meeting to note the disparity between the bid and original cost estimates for the roof upgrade.
“Two dollars and fifty cents is insignificant, $250,0000 is significant,” Mason said. “Excuse me.”
Because of the delayed action, Las Vegas Academy will continue to deal with leaks that are ruining the gym floors. The portable cooling units on the gym roof will remain inoperable, as they’ve been since the copper piping inside them was stolen. Sometimes students must exercise in the theater or cafeteria when the gym is too warm.
“It’s awful,” Principal Andre Long said. “It’s been bad for some time, but now it seems like it’s all coming together.”
Long said the gym is part of the original building. “It’s just old.”
Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@review journal.com or 702-374-7917.