Chance for some creative thinking
January 27, 2011
In 1994, Douglas High School’s freshman class was scattered to Carson Valley’s two middle schools to keep from having to build a second, and very expensive, high school in the Valley.
Today the wisdom of that move is clear. A single bond approved by voters in 1992 and now paid off built all the capacity the Douglas County School District would need.
Nearly 20 years later, efforts are underway to build a third pod onto Pinon Hills Elementary, something officials at the time thought would have to happen in 1998.
We also need to come to terms with the reality that our shrinking school population will mean that some of that student capacity needed in the 1990s will become redundant in the teens.
Moving freshmen back into Douglas High School is inevitable. The high school campus is the largest public facility in the county and represents Douglas County’s largest investment in tax dollars. It must be put to its highest and best use.
So what happens to the two middle schools?
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The school master plan suggests closing one and renovating the other. Pau-Wa-Lu is by far the newer school, but it was built when the Ranchos was the fastest growing community in the county. If it were the only middle school, getting children from all over the Valley to it would be a problem. Carson Valley Middle School was originally built in 1958 as part of the former Douglas County High School. It’s old, but centrally located. Closing either is certain to be traumatic and should be avoided if possible.
But within every challenge exists an opportunity. This is a chance for the people of Douglas County to do some of the creative thinking that got us this far on one school bond.