A $17.9 million expansion of Douglas High School was approved by the Douglas County School Board on Tuesday.
“I didn’t think we’d get there for the price tag,” District Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna said. “We got a heck of a lot for this price.”
The expansion includes construction of a two-story science, technology, engineering and mathematics building on the east side of the campus, expansion of the small gym and altering the commons, kitchen to accommodate the first freshman class in 11 years.
Alternatives approved by the school board include the purchase of lockers, addition of exterior storage rooms, a rubber gym floor covering and fencing along Highway 88.
The only alternative not included was the purchase of $48,064 in pavers for the space between the new STEM building and the entrance to the school.
Luna said that project could be completed later, and would lend itself to a campaign to sell engraved bricks.
Work is expected to begin in summer 2014 and completed in time for fall 2015.
Project Manager Harry Turner said that 80 percent of the subcontractors on the job are Nevada firms based within 50 miles of Minden, and that 13 percent are from Douglas County.
“We think that’s good for everyone,” Turner said. “That does not include anyone in California.”
Among the improvements are more lighting in the commons bringing illumination up to 50 foot candles, far brighter than the current 6 foot candles. Lighting will combine fluorescent and LED fixtures and will be dimmable.
Mark Johnson of H+K Architects said the school also plans to redo the parking lot and remove the junipers from the landscaping along the school’s boundary with Highway 88.
School Board member Sharla Hales expressed concern that a new sound system for the gym had been eliminated.
“I’d rather have potholes in the parking lot then not be able to hear in the gym,” she said.
Luna said the recommended system would cost $55,000 to purchase and another $23,000 to install, putting the project over budget. Prior sound systems for the gym cost around $10,000.
The gym expansion will include acoustic treatments. Rather than purchasing a sound system, Luna suggested that it would be better to finish the gym and see how the present system would work.
Douglas High’s freshman class was moved out of the high school in 1994 to make room for increased growth that prompted construction of Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School.
The improvements will be paid for by a continuation bond approved in 2008, along with capital improvement funds. Any money raised by the sale of Kingsbury Middle School could also be applied.