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Futures of Hug High School, Wildcreek Golf Course Unveiled

By Carla O'Day
Wildcreek Golf Course
Wildcreek Golf Course

Wildcreek Golf Course, Image: Carla O’Day

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.”

Pete Etchart, WCSD chief operations officer

Pete Etchart, WCSD Chief Operations Officer. Image: Carla O’Day

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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Kathleen Shupp April 30, 2017 - 10:42 am

As a resident of the area of Wildcreek Golf Course I am concerned about the noise level that will rise with the a high school. Marching bands and teenagers filled with energy and hormones do not make for peace and quiet, which is the atmosphere I am accustomed to. Of course there will be a whole bunch of additional traffic. My road is off of Wedekind. With the recent construction of the Pyramid/McCarran intersection traffic has increased and Wedekind is too small to have that kind of traffic load. At times I have been almost locked in and cannot enter Wedekind, Pyramid, or McCarran for long periods of time. Wedekind will be subject to much speeding and the resulting injuries to properties, pets and persons. The median age of the residents of this area has to be at least 60. I would be surprised if there were 20% under that age. That makes our population more vulnerable to the teens who want to rob and harass us. This is a form of ageism, with the younger community exercising their power of numbers to simply take what they want from the older folks who have worked so hard to have peaceful lifestyles. Do I need to give it all up to the young population, because it’s nice? Because it is there? What else should we as older adults expect for our futures? Maybe to live in small apartments in high density areas? Most of us had to do that while we were putting aside money to purchase our properties in peaceful areas WITHOUT high schools next door. I think that the Washoe County needs to find other locations for this school, like somewhere that children actually live.

Paul Smeenis May 1, 2017 - 4:32 pm

“The median age of the residents of this area has to be at least 60. I would be surprised if there were 20% under that age.”

That’s a load of garbage. I lived in this neighborhood for several years. I guess we could ask the Hells Angels, are most of them over 60?

Todd April 27, 2017 - 10:23 pm

How are they going to staff any of the new school? There cutting staff all over because they can’t pay for the staff they have now?

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day April 28, 2017 - 8:18 am

The new high school isn’t scheduled to open until fall 2021. Historically, when a new high school opens in Washoe County, it starts with only a 9th, 10th and 11th grade and then a senior class is added the year after. Therefore, staffing at a particular school will depend on student population, which is likely to start out smaller and then grow.

Since this school at Wildcreek will draw students from Hug, Sparks, Reed and Spanish Springs high schools, populations at those schools will go down, meaning those schools won’t need as many staff members to operate. Such resources can be then reallocated to the new school. Also, things can change in the next few years, such as how much money comes to schools through through property taxes and through the state’s distributive schools account (also referred to as per pupil allocation).

Same concept with Hug, which is expected to become a career and technical school, with a planned opening in fall 2022.

In response to what’s going on now with budget cuts, nothing has been determined yet as the district is waiting on the state legislature to approve a budget. The district’s largest funding source is through the state distributive schools account. (Second largest is property taxes). From what I’ve heard at school board meetings and from talking to people, it’s likely that most staff reductions will be through attrition. A final budget is due to the state Department of Taxation in early June.

I hope that answers your questions.

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