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New school gets mascot, district developing plans for future building and renovations

By Kelsey Penrose

Washoe County school board trustees on Tuesday were given the first glimpse of a new south Reno school’s mascot and heard an update on the district wide Facility Modernization Plan. 

The mascot and logo unveiled during the meeting are for the new JWood Raw Elementary School, under construction in south Reno just a few blocks southwest of Damonte Ranch High School. 

The new JWood Raw Elementary School mascot and logo.

In discussions that began May 2022, a stakeholder group met several times to discuss character, color and theme ideas for the new elementary school that is scheduled to open in August 2023. 

Navy and gold were chosen as the colors, and a jaguar was selected as the mascot. 

The JWood Raw Jaguar logo was presented to a round of applause from staff, trustees and the public. 

“It’s wonderful and I can’t wait to hear the mascot’s name,” Superintendent Susan Enfield said. 

The school is named for  JWood Raw, a 37-year employee of the district –  . Raw was a teacher at Sun Valley Elementary School, and an industrial arts teacher at what was then Sparks Junior High School, and  vice principal and then principal at Dilworth Middle School. He retired from the school district in 1989 and passed away in 2011. 

Community invited to forums for Facility Modernization Plan

Chief Operating Officer Adam Searcy and staff have been investigating the district’s facilities to develop the district’s Facility Modernization Plan. 

“This is an objective process that is very data driven and transparent,” Searcy said of the plan. 

Since the introduction of a 0.54% sales tax in Washoe County set exclusively for constructing, renovating, and maintaining school facilities, the district has built and opened (or will open soon) seven new schools, and has constructed three “significant” expansions or replacements of existing schools. 

A hallway at the new Hug High School in north Reno just before it opened for the 2022-23 school year. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

The plan will help guide facility use and capital investment decisions for the next five to 10 years, Searcy said, but will have impacts that last for decades. 

He added that  district staff was also able to align the plan with Superintendent Enfield’s new strategic plan. 

“The timing could not be any better,” Searcy said. 

A team has been investigating the district’s buildings from a physical aspect as well as how well equipped and designed the schools are. 

“We’re using your brand new families as kind of the measuring stick so that we can objectively measure, compare and benchmark all of your schools from various aspects,” Searcy said. 

According to Searcy, the most important aspects of the investigation of current facilities are looking at the condition of the buildings, how well designed the buildings are, and how full they are, as a way to better provide equity for all students. 

Trustee Adam Mayberry asked if the plan would also consider school security including single-point entry and the addition of cameras, to which Searcy said the plan “absolutely” takes into account campus safety. 

At the end of the investigation, the board will be presented with a list of findings and recommendations, from which the board can determine which are priorities or agree to all the recommended changes and upgrades. 

The first two forums in the plan process – which provided an overview to community members – were held in late September. Two more rounds of community forums regarding the plan will be held Oct. 19-20 to go over priorities and criteria, and Jan. 25-26 to review options. 

Those forums are as follows: 

Community Forum Series 2: Community Priorities 

  • Oct. 19 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at McKinley Arts Center
  • Oct. 19 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Dilworth Middle School 
  • Oct. 20 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. held virtually

Community Forum Series 3 

  • Jan 25 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Location TBD
  • Jan. 25 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Location TBD
  • Jan. 26 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., held virtually

For more information visit https://www.washoeschools.net/fmp

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