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South Reno, Sun Valley Can Expect New Schools First

By Carla O'Day

By Carla O’Day

Damonte Ranch High School

Photo: Damonte Ranch High School

An expansion of Damonte Ranch High School is expected to break ground this spring, making the South Reno campus the first to reap the benefits of the passage of WC-1, school district officials said Tuesday.

The first new elementary school is slated for the Damonte Ranch area and the first new middle school is planned for the Sun Valley area, said Pete Etchart, Washoe County School District chief operations officer. Both are projected to open in fall 2019.

“These are ambitious schedules and these are ambitious projects,” Etchart told the Board of Trustees.

The voter-approved 0.54 percent sales tax increase is providing funds to rehabilitate aging schools and allow for the building of new high schools in the Cold Springs, South McCarran and North McCarran areas. Additionally, Sparks High School would be expanded and Hug High re-purposed. New middle schools would also be built in the Spanish Springs and South Reno areas. New elementary schools would go in the South Meadows, Spanish Springs or North Valleys and several other areas dictated by growth.

Etchart said consumers should see the sales tax increase from 7.725 percent to 8.265 percent in or around April 2017, with the school district receiving its first proceeds about three months later. It’s expected to generate $781 million in the next nine years.

“Our number one issue is property acquisition,” Etchart said. “People know we have a sustainable funding source and they’re reaching out to us.”

A citizen oversight committee must authorize all new capital projects and another independent group must certify that debt is only being issued to build or repair schools. This money cannot be used for teachers, school administrators, or other school operations.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Associated General Contractors, 5400 Mill St. For more information, call 775-851-5672 or email [email protected]

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