Damonte Ranch High School expansion, other news

What’s new this week? After receiving bids, we’re ready to recommend Clark/Sullivan Construction for the general contractor on the expansion of Damonte Ranch High School! This recommendation of award of contract will be made to WCSD’s Board of Trustees at its February 28 regular meeting. With the Board’s approval, we’ll have a groundbreaking ceremony at the school on March 16 at 10:30 in the morning – more details to come!

The winning bid amount for the construction is just under $11 million. This is good news as it is less expensive then we thought it might be! With construction we always budget for a contingency – if you’ve ever watched HGTV or built/renovated a house, you know unexpected costs can pop up. But for now, it does look like this project will come in a little under our estimate. This will leave more funding available for repairs and/or other new schools (“savings” from this project stay in the capital fund, of course, and can only be used for construction and repairs). It’s also important to remember that this is just the construction cost. There’s also the architect fee, chairs and desks and other furnishing, our staff time in planning and overseeing the project, and more that are all part of total project cost, and our estimates.

The expansion is actually two additions – one on the west side, one on the east. The west addition is the bigger one, adding 16 classrooms, including three general science labs, a chemistry lab, a computer lab, and a three-part special education room. The east addition is six classrooms.

Picture of Damonte Ranch High School expansion from overhead
Damonte Ranch High School expansion overhead view.

In other news, the Washoe County Debt Management Commission gave us approval to issue $200 million in bonds on the sales tax revenue from WC-1. This is an independent committee set up under state law, and is tasked with making sure local governments don’t issue more bonds than is fiscally responsible. This approval from them is yet another step forward in being ready to put the WC-1 funds to work as soon the county is able to start collecting them. (Sales tax increases take a little time to implement, because it involves getting almost every retailer in the county to re-program their point-of-sale systems/cash registers to charge the higher tax rate).

But of course we’re moving forward with projects now knowing that this WC-1 funding is coming. We’re using basically all of the property tax revenue we receive for our capital fund to get projects going ASAP (like the DRHS expansion!).

The groundbreaking itself will be a fun event – we’ll hear from different community members and students (like we do for the State of Education). Since DRHS is a Performing Arts Signature Academy, you can expect some great entertainment!