School district to examine own master plan

With the help of city officials, school staff and parents, the Carson City School District is going to revise its master plan, last touched in 2003.

One reason for the revisit is to make sure it's on track with Carson City's Envision master plan; the other is to see if a bond is needed for upkeep of existing buildings or to construct new facilities.

Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the school district, said there are even rumors about a vocational technology program being started in the school district, but that the decision to make it so, and whether it would be at Carson High or a new facility - and, ultimately, whether to bond for it - would come from the master plan committee.

Mitchell said he would also like to turn 70,000 square feet of portable buildings at Carson Middle, and Empire and Mark Twain elementary schools, into actual brick and mortar classrooms. The upkeep of the portables is equivalent to upkeep for 200,000 square feet of permanent building.

"That is an important belief of mine, that we should convert that portable space into permanent space," he said. "But maybe we don't want to convert to permanent, maybe we want to start getting rid of them, because if you're in fact losing enrollment, it's a good way to adjust in size for the loss."

The master plan committee will determine what direction to take with the portables. In 2003, the committee implemented their use because the middle schools were above capacity at 119 percent. Replacing the portables with permanent structures would require a $15 million bond.

Mitchell would also like to have a new furnace installed at Carson High School, see roofs replaced and infrastructures updated, bringing the bond need up to $21 million.

Declining enrollment in the district over the past three years will make planning difficult because city planners are predicting the population in Carson City will increase from 50,000 upward to 70,000 in the next 15 to 20 years.

"Is our enrollment going to turn around to match the increased population of the city?" Mitchell asked. "Or is the city going to become an aging population?"

But with 1,000 dwelling units planned for the city, he believes something will happen with enrollment.

"You've just got to believe you're going to get some kids out of that," he said. "Maybe it only offsets what we're losing. I personally don't think the school district is going to start losing students in any large numbers. I think we're going to maintain our enrollment and start to grow slightly."

The master plan committee will meet approximately six times during the next three months. The meetings will be open to the public, and those meeting dates will be available at Tuesday's school board meeting at the community center, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Sierra Room.

A master plan rough draft should be ready by the end of the year and a final plan prepared by February. The master plan was previously revised in 2003, 2000, 1998 and 1995.

-- Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.

If you go

What: Master plan discussion at the Carson City School District Board meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St., open to the public.

CALL: 283-2100


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