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School District Eyes Land Swap With Developer for New Middle School


WCSD Vista Blvd Parcel
Google Maps image of Washoe County School District’s Vista Boulevard parcel.

The Washoe County School District owns property on Vista Boulevard that it hopes to swap with a developer in the Kiley Ranch area of Spanish Springs to acquire land for a future middle school, district officials said Tuesday.

The district has owned a 29.4-acre plot northwest of the junction of Vista Boulevard and North Los Altos Parkway in Sparks since 1995, according to the Washoe County Assessor. It’s eyeing a 28-acre piece of property in the northern Kiley Ranch area owned by developer Rising Tides LLC.

Joe Gabica, district chief facilities management officer, said putting a middle school on Vista Boulevard wouldn’t be practical from an engineering standpoint. The city of Sparks must comply with Regional Transportation Commission and Nevada Department of Transportation guidelines that indicate no more signalized intersections along Vista.

“We would need to turn (school buses) left onto Vista and they don’t think it would be possible,” Gabica said. “It’s more of a traffic issue than anything.”

The new middle school in the Sparks/Spanish Springs area would open in the next four to nine years and is one of several new schools in the works.

The board of trustees on Tuesday approved recommendations from the Capital Funding Protection Committee for the first set of building and repair projects following the passage November’s Washoe County question 1.

Voters approved a 0.54-cent sales tax increase that is expected to raise $781 million during the next nine years to build 15 new schools. 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.

school repairs
Concrete repairs needed at the Genn Duncan STEM Academy. Image: WCSD.

Funds would also expand existing schools and refurbish aging schools. Washoe County currently has 93 schools that serve about 64,000 students. Enrollment is expected to increase 1.7 percent annually through 2025.

This money cannot be used for staff salaries or other school operations.

The first set of approved projects are as follows:

  • $20 million per year in repairs projects to older schools
  • Additions to Damonte Ranch High School, totaling 22 new classrooms, expected to be completed during the first half of the 2017-18 school year
  • Funding to purchase land and draw site-specific plans for new middle schools in Sun Valley and Spanish Springs and new elementary and high schools across the district
  • Creation of a comprehensive plan for existing high schools
  • Plans for a new South Meadows-area elementary school near the intersection of South Meadows and Veterans parkways, with a target December 2018 opening date
Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.