By Carla O’Day
Plans for a new high school at the Wildcreek Golf Course property and the re-purposing of Hug High School were rolled out Wednesday by Washoe County staff and school district officials.
Tentative plans are for the Washoe County School District to purchase a portion of the approximately 200-acre Wildcreek property at fair market value from Washoe County and the county would then use the money to reinvest in the Wildcreek area.
Wildcreek Golf Course, 3500 Sullivan Lane in Sparks, is currently run by the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority but Washoe County plans to take over operations in July, county manager John Slaughter said. There is an 18-hole, par-72 course and a 9-hole, par-27 course. The clubhouse, restaurant, and pro shop would have to be moved, he said.
“The high school would go on the current 9-hole course and on part of the 18-hole course,” Slaughter said. “A reconfigured 9-hole course is likely, but this is very conceptual right now.”
Golf will continue until late 2018 when ground is broken for the new school, which hasn’t been named but will house about 2,500 students. District officials are pleased with the Wildcreek location, which is about 1.8 miles east of Hug.
“It’s difficult to find this kind of acreage in an urban area,” said Pete Etchart, district chief operations officer. “I can’t really say we had a plan B.”
Hug, 2880 Sutro St., is a comprehensive high school built in the late 1960s that serves about 1,450 students. Plans are to close the school in spring 2021 and reopen it as a career and technical academy in fall 2022.
The district already runs a similar school—Academy for Arts, Careers and Technology. However, Superintendent Traci Davis said another school like AACT is needed to ensure that students can get the workforce training needed for employment upon graduation.
“AACT is at capacity and we actually turn kids away,” Davis said. “This affords equity on this end of town.”
Funds for school construction to alleviate crowding are coming from November’s 0.54 percent voter-approved sales tax increase. Such dollars can go only toward construction of and refurbishing of facilities. This money cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operations. The first project made possible as part of WC-1 is a $10.7 million expansion of Damonte Ranch High School, which broke ground in March and will consist of 22 new classrooms totaling 36,000 square feet.
Also underway are plans for an elementary school in the South Meadows area to open in fall 2019. Middle schools in Sun Valley and Spanish Springs are also expected then. Plans regarding the Wildcreek and Hug locations will be discussed during a public meeting at 8:30 a.m. May 1 in the Washoe County Commission Chambers, 1001 E. Ninth St., Building A.
Washoe County School District Infrastructure plan: http://wcsdbuilding.com
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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.