Supported by the WC-1 sales tax that voters passed in November 2016, the WCSD Building department proposed developing a 2500-student school on 3500 Sullivan Lane, where the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) currently runs an 18-hole golf course. Recently, the Washoe County School District, the RSCVA and Washoe County recently launched a proposal made available to the public for building a new Hug High School just a short jaunt away from the existing one.
Currently, the RSCVA leases the land from Washoe County and previously worked with the State of Nevada to turn the Livestock Events Center into a state agriculture department. However, since the property transfer failed to pass in recent legislature, the idea came up for the WCSD to buy it from Washoe County and then the County would invest the profit back into other community services at Wildcreek.
The value of Wildcreek Golf Course property is anywhere between a couple million to $10 million, with a proper appraisal likely to be completed in June. After that, the entities will work together on additional planning and strive for a 2021 opening date of the new high school. So far, the project is being called “Wildcreek High School” until the WCSD designates a school naming committee to make any new recommendations.
If the sale of the property goes through using the influx of money received through the WC-1 sales tax hike, developments of the new high school could include a swimming pool, preschool, and school board meeting spot. The conceptual development project would also turn the existing Hug High School into a career and technical academy.
Although there has been criticism from parents and taxpayers on how the school district is spending its funds, the WCSD Building department has assured its constituents that this is coming from the capital funding earmarked for projects like this. It has stated that no money has been spent for this proposal so far. At this early stage of the process, there are plans still to offer golf facilities in some kind of capacity.
At the May 1 Washoe County joint meeting, WCSD Chief Operations Officer Pete Etchart addressed concerns about parking, traffic, and costs as best as he could, but emphasized that all boards need to give the thumbs up before further vetting this project out. Members of the boards also raised questions about taking away the public golf facility and outside field lighting affecting airplane flight paths.
About 10 people spoke in public comment, including several current Hug High School teachers who are in favor of the project to those who are worried about costs and taking away open space. After the lengthy discussion, the Washoe County Commissioners, City of Reno, City of Sparks, and WCSD all approved the Letter of Intent with only one dissenting member.
“This was an important first step, now we can move forward with the process and involving the community,” Etchart says. “The Letter of Intent is not a binding agreement, it was just getting an approval to move forward. Now we’re going to start work on the challenges and opportunities this fantastic site provides,” he adds.
“What happens now is that we will be relying on public input on what the contours of this project will look like,” says WCSD Capital Needs Public Relations Specialist Riley Sutton.
Since representatives of the RSCVA were not present, the conversation will be continued at the May 24 RSCVA Board of Directors meeting.
Proposed Timeline of Events:
August 2017 – Transfer of property to WCSD
December 2018 – Break ground on the new Hug High School
June 2021 – Remodeling of the old Hug High School begins
August 2021 – Wildcreek High School opens (new Hug High School)
August 2022 – The Career and Technical Academy opens (redeveloped old Hug High School)