Silver State completes move to new school

Photos by Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal

Photos by Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal

After working the last week from home, Silver State Charter School students returned to classes Monday at the new location.

"It's an upgrade definitely," said Peter Stephenson, 17. "We've got a lot more room, which is nice."

The school purchased the nearly 40,000-square-foot building on Mallory Way, replacing the 16,000-square-foot leased space in the strip mall on North Carson Street where the school has been housed since its inception in 2003.

Instead of paying $22,000 a month in rent, said superintendent Steve Knight, the school will now be paying a $15,000 monthly mortgage.

"This is a big deal," Knight said. "The taxpayers own this building. It's an asset that goes up in value."

The advantages go beyond the financial, he added.

With the additional space, Knight said, the school is able to adjust its learning model. Middle and high school students enrolled in the hybrid online school attend classes once a week.

They will now meet in collaborative learning centers, where the teachers of the core subjects - math, science, social studies and English - are all available in one room.

"It allows us to do what we originally wanted to do," Knight said.

It also allows more room for elective classes.

"I'm really excited about the theater class," said Cassidy Kenyon, 16. "We have a rehearsal room now."

Knight said the school has increased efficiency with lighting and solar panels, as well as in the operation by combining the middle and high schools under the same roof.

"We were having to duplicate office staff and equipment," he explained.

The two schools now exist on opposite ends of the building. The center of the school is an open courtyard where students can take breaks or eat lunch.

On Monday, theater teacher Abbey Gardner worked with students out there.

"I like this area outside," said Karl Stephenson. "You get some fresh air. It's a really big change from our old school."

As the student body grows from its current 450 students, Knight said, the new campus will have the ability to grow with it.

And growth, say some students, is both a blessing and a curse.

"It's really big," said Alexandria Cotsonis, 15. "It's a good thing. But I've already been lost twice."

The grand opening for the school is planned for July, Knight said.


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