Names List Narrows for New Sun Valley Middle School

Proposed layout of middle school grounds in Sun Valley.
Proposed layout of middle school grounds in Sun Valley. Image: WCSD

A list of names for the new middle school in Sun Valley got narrower this week as a Washoe County School District panel decided on three finalists.

The School Naming Committee voted Wednesday to forward Sun Valley, Desert Skies, and Michael Landsberry to district trustees, which are expected to make a final selection at an upcoming board meeting.

The 11-member committee is made up of one district representative selected by the superintendent, seven members of the public (one from each trustee district), one high school student, and two at-large members. Terms are staggered and expire in either June 2018 or June 2019.

Sparks Middle school math teacher and former Marine Michael Landsberry, 45. (AP Photo/Nevada Air National Guard)

Landsberry was a Sparks Middle School teacher who was shot dead in fall 2013 while trying to protect students from a 12-year-old who opened fire on campus. Some committee members supported his name, but others suggested it might be too soon to name the school after Landsberry and that it could stir emotions in those still reeling from grief.

Sun Valley and Desert Skies are regional names.

The school will have a 1,400-student capacity and is scheduled to open in fall 2019 on an 80-acre parcel off Donatello Drive. Dilworth S.T.E.M. Academy principal Laura Petersen will serve as principal.

Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will be housed at the new school, which will be modeled similarly to Depoali Middle School in south Reno. The estimated construction cost is $85 million.

The school district is in the process of transitioning sixth graders from elementary to middle schools, which will free up space at elementary schools, many which are over capacity.

Wine and Dine: Chowing Down in Style

Currently, half of Sun Valley middle school students attend Sparks Middle School and the other half go to Traner Middle School.

Funds for school construction are coming from last year’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.

For more information on construction of the school visit

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 414 Articles
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.