A town hall meeting about plans for a middle school and high school that will affect Sun Valley area students is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday in the multipurpose room at Bennett Elementary School, 5900 Sidehill Drive.
The 1,400-student capacity middle school in northern Sun Valley will be built on Bureau of Land Management BLM) property and modeled similarly to Depoali Middle School in South Reno. It will house sixth through eighth graders and is scheduled to open in fall 2019. Washoe County School District is in the process of transitioning sixth graders from elementary to middle schools, which will free up space at elementary schools.
A comprehensive high school that will house about 2,500 students is expected at the Wildcreek Golf Course off Sullivan Lane in western Sparks in fall 2021. Plans are to close Hug High School after the 2020-21 academic year and to send Hug students to the new school, which will also draw from other area high schools. Hug would then re-open in fall 2022 as a career and technical school.
The new middle and high schools will keep Sun Valley students in their neighborhoods, school district spokesman Riley Sutton said.
“Right now, half of Sun Valley (middle school) students go to Traner and the other half go to Sparks,” Sutton said. “This is meant to serve all of Sun Valley students so they’re not split.”
Sun Valley high school students are currently split among schools that include Hug, North Valleys, and Spanish Springs.
Monday’s meeting will consist of a brief presentation from superintendent Traci Davis and district chief operations officer Pete Etchart, Sutton said. People can then visit different stations around the room and ask questions of the BLM, the middle school architect, the middle school contractor, and school district staff.
Sutton said this town hall setup is typical for such projects. Those who attend for specific information can ask a subject-matter expert directly versus having to sit through a series of questions others are asking, he said.
“We really hope people will come and check out the plans,” Sutton said. “We’re exited about putting this investment in to the community.”
Funds to build schools are being paid for by a voter-approved sales tax increase that is expected to raise $781 million during the next nine years to build 15 new schools. Such dollars can go only toward construction of and refurbishing of facilities and cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operations.
Consumers saw the sales tax increase from 7.725 percent to 8.265 percent this past spring.
Watch the WCSD’s video on current work underway to prepare for construction of the Sun Valley middle school.
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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.