CARSON CITY — Big changes, including renovations, upgrades and new technologies, officially sit on a distant horizon for the Carson City-Crystal Area Schools.
But as to whether the sun will rise over that horizon will officially be decided when voters make a decision on a bond proposal in May.
At Monday evening’s school board meeting, the seven members of the board voted unanimously to approve a proposal for an extension on a current two-year millage for 15 years.
The bond would generate $11,943,000 of which $10,936,750 would be spent on facility improvements, technology and transportation upgrades throughout the district.
The tax levy associated with the bond would not increase nor decrease, keeping the tax rate at it’s current level, but extending it over a period of 15 years rather than the current two-year bond.
The current scope of work for the bond is estimated to provide $5,242,000 in upgrades and renovations to the upper elementary school and $4,792,000 in upgrades and renovations to the Lower Elementary, Middle School and High School Complex building.
Superintendent Kevin Murphy said while there is currently a heavy focus on improving the district’s curriculum, the idea of renovating and improving the district’s facilities and technology for the students is equally important.
“We’re doing things, technology wise, currently within our budget and in our means, but we’re certainly planning for the future,” Murphy said. “The bottom line is preparing the students for the world they will lead us into. If we don’t have technology in their hands, we might be in trouble in the future.”
According to Murphy, currently, buildings such as the lower elementary school do not have wirelessInternet available for students with the exception of within the media center, an issue which would cost $30,000 to address.
Other physical issues, such as flooding and a leaking roof at the Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School Complex building, are also a problem.
The upgrades to the buildings would be as follows:
Lower Elementary School
Site improvements including a new bus loop, service entrance, entryway, entry canopy, improved accessibility, upgrades to interior finishes, the fire alarm system, kitchen, electrical, plumbing, technology, furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The school would also see renovations to the entire facility in the form of a corridor system as well as relocation of the office and media center and an additional 8,500 square foot addition.
“The Lower Elementary School design has stayed consistent over these two months of work,” Murphy said. “I believe, because there is an identified need there with the corridor in place of the pod system, everything is built around that point.”
According to Murphy, the elementary school’s hallway traffic currently flows through the school’s gymnasium. The new corridor system would create hallways to provide a flow for students around the gymnasium, as opposed to through it.
Additional options that were discussed included a new gymnasium and three additional classrooms, but those were removed from the scope of work, with a possibility to add in future years.
“We had talked about a new gymnasium, but that is now crossed out,” Murphy said. “It was about a $1.3 million option. We decided it wasn’t necessary as we will still have a shared space with the current gym and shared cafeteria.”
Other school buildings
Site improvements at the Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School complex include addressing the storm water drainage issues in the courtyard, improvements to drainage and irrigation at the football field, a trash enclosure, staff parking lot repairs, improvements to accessibility, approximately 29,000 square feet of roof replacement, repairs and waterproofing to masonry and foundations, upgrades to interior finishes, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, technology and furniture fixtures and equipment and new buses.
The building would also see renovations to the media center to create a student commons area and a technology hub, acoustical renovations the existing band room, relocation of the weight room to the old band room, and a possible relocation of the high school office and district administration office.
“The high school is not as defined, there is a lot of need there, but we don’t have a defining need such as the corridor at the lower elementary,” Murphy said. “We’ve been to the Upper Peninsula and back with the amount of ideas for the high school.”
Other possible upgrades, including a fitness center or gym at the high school and an elevator, were dismissed from the scope of work.
The journey begins
Board members were unanimous in their support of the bond proposal, stating that physical renovations would be a good change of pace as the district has focuses mainly on internal upgrades that have gone unnoticed to the public eye.
“I think we keep making improvements that no one can see,” board member Kelly Decker said. “It would certainly be nice to make improvements that our community can see and be proud of. I think our community has needed to see some good improvements that they can visually see for a long time.”
The official scope of work for the bond is still a work in progress, and the next step for board members will be to define that scope of work before approaching the public.
If the bond fails in May, the district would settle with the current two-year bond passed in 2012, which provided the school with $1 million in funds.
Board member Randy Stearns said he believes the 2012 bond would only be enough to provide the technological improvements at the Lower Elementary School.
“If we don’t do the extension, and stay on our current bond, which we appreciate, we’re just chasing our tail,” Stearns said. “The important message for voters is, this wouldn’t increase your taxes. This is an extension of the current tax levy.”