Vandals slow bond construction

Security officers will now be working around the clock in order to curb vandalism that is slowing progress on school bond projects set to be completed by Aug. 20.

"This is pretty much senseless," said Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District, of recent destruction. "We're just fed up with this thing."

Vandals damaged equipment stored in the playground behind Fritsch Elementary School on Monday night and broke two windows.

"Now I have to have my contractors replace windows that we just put in," said Jeff Sepahpour, superintendent of Q & D Construction, the construction consultant for the bond projects. "That's brand new glass."

The projects are part of an $18-million school bond passed in the 2000 election to improve safety and replace outdated systems in Carson City schools. The first phase of the projects - such as new air-conditioning units, windows and lock and phone systems - was scheduled to be completed this summer.

The vandals took pieces of pipe and rebar from a nearby trash bin and beat holes into a wooden crate which stored paneling for the cooling unit to be installed at the elementary school.

"If they would have gotten in there two more inches, they would have held up a $2 million project," Mitchell said.

The vandals also damaged a trailer, tipped over a portable toilet, wrote graffiti on a door and defecated in the doorway at Fritsch.

Windows were also broken at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School last week and toilet paper from the portable toilets on other school sites has been lit on fire.

Mitchell said the security guards, who have traditionally worked daytime hours, will now switch to a swing shift to patrol during the night.

"We're not telling anyone the hours, so they won't know when to expect them," Mitchell said.

Deputies from the Carson City Sheriff's Department will also be patrolling the school sites.

The vandalism can delay work anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks while waiting for an insurance adjuster to come out or to order new supplies.

"Two or three days out of a 10-week job is a lot of time," Mitchell said.

Mitchell estimated the damage at Fritsch Elementary School at $5,000 in damaged materials and time.

Sepahpour, who attended Fritsch Elementary School as a child, said he is disgusted with the vandalism.

"I think it's sad in this day and age that it's come to this," he said. "Parents need to ask themselves at 10 p.m., 'Do you know where your child is?'" He said.

Anyone with information about the vandalism should call the school district or the sheriff's office. Parents can be held liable for up to $10,000 in damage caused by their children.

Anyone with information regarding vandalism at the schools is asked to call the Carson City School District operations department at 283-2120 or the Carson City Sheriff's Department at 887-2020.


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