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Plans Taking Shape For New High School In Washoe

Carla O'Day

The Washoe County School District has plans to build a new high school and to re-purpose Hug High into a career and technical academy.

Several local entities have signed a letter of intent for the school in west Sparks, and that letter was approved Thursday by the board of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

To learn more, our News Director Michelle Billman spoke with contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno.

KUNR: First, where would the new school be built exactly and what would its capacity be?

Bob Conrad: So, the new school is being proposed for the Wildcreek Golf Course, which is in Sparks right on McCarran. Basically, what the school district is proposing is to build a new school, tentatively called the Wildcreek project or the Wildcreek School, and that would then take the bulk of the students from Hug High and move them into the new school.

Pete Etchart, with the district, says Hug is going to be repurposed into a career and technical academy under this proposal.                                 

"The bottom line is this provides more opportunities for our students in the Washoe County School District," Etchart says. "What are the careers and employment opportunities for the next five years, ten years, twenty years, and how can we be part of that workforce development for these amazing companies that are coming to the Truckee Meadows?"

KUNR: What are the main reasons for all of this shuffling and repurposing?

BC: As you know, our school district is incredibly strained with population growth. What happened is that last fall, voters approved WC-1, which allowed for the school district to then get bond money to fund new school construction. This is one of the first proposals to come out of that initiative.

KUNR: Where is the district in this process. What are the steps that still need to happen before this is a reality?

BC: The school district came and gave a presentation of this proposal to the cities of Sparks and Reno, and Washoe County. And, basically, what it was was, 'This is sort of a vision for this property.' And there were a lot of questions by the local politicians and the elected officials because it was a brand-new proposal. But, overall, the county, the cities, and the school board agreed to a letter of intent to work together to start the process of developing this idea.

KUNR: What are the key challenges that lay ahead?

BC: One of the biggest concerns was traffic. Another concern raised was the airport authority--how flight paths may need to be diverted or what kind of impacts that might be. Another concern was what's going to happen to the golf course, and County Commissioner Bob Lucey did say that the golf course is going to remain. They are going to keep, I believe, nine holes as part of this proposal. 

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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