UNR-Historical Society building swap on hold

The Interim Finance Committee on Tuesday put on hold the land swap between the Nevada Historical Society and UNR.

Chairman Joyce Woodhouse said she agrees with Assembly Ways and Means chairman Maggie Carlton of Las Vegas the deal should be fully considered during the 2019 session.

The idea is to move the Historical Society to downtown Reno to what was originally the Reno Gazette Journal building on Second Street. In trade, UNR would get the current Historical Society building adjacent to the Fleischmann Atmospherium Planetarium at the north end of the campus along with two undeveloped parcels owned by the state.

Museums and History Director Peter Barton said the society has “completely outgrown” the existing building and the new structure, now called the Warren Nelson Building, has more than double the square footage. The Historical Society building, according to UNR Finance Vice President Vic Redding, would become badly needed office space.

The committee approved $3.84 million to pay wildfire costs from this past summer.

State Forester Casey KC told lawmakers those are for “known fire bills today and projected expenses through April 2019.”

She said there have been about nine small fires since they last appeared before IFC two meetings ago but with wintery weather, they expect seasonally reduced fire activity.

In addition, the committee approved $909,984 from the contingency fund to provide vendor services at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home. That facility is under construction in Sparks. The ribbon cutting is set for Monday.

Veterans Services Administrator Kat Miller said the money will carry the home operator Avalon Healthcare Group until the home is certified by the VA. She said the goal is to have the home self-supporting without General Fund money within three years.

There’s $2.1 million reserved in the contingency fund to complete the home project. This funding, she said, will leave about $1.19 million remaining for any unanticipated costs. Much of the money, Miller said, will go to one time purchases in the process of equipping the home.

It will provide space for 96 veterans when up and running. Until certification, it will have just 25 spaces filled.


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