$17.9 million high school expansion OK’d | TahoeDailyTribune.com

$17.9 million high school expansion OK’d

by Kurt Hildebrand
A rendering of Douglas High School as approved by Douglas County School Board members in 2013.
H+K Architect |

As the class of 2019 is preparing for middle school, plans for the new Douglas High School got a final green light from school board members.

Those new seventh-graders will, in 2015, be the first freshmen at the high school since they left for the middle schools nearly a decade ago.

Douglas County School Board trustees on Tuesday voted to approve a $17.9 million plan to make the high school ready for the freshmen class.

Principal Marty Swisher said this will be the last quiet summer at the high school if everything goes according to plan.

Dirt work on the expansion of the school could begin as early as March 2014, though at this point the timeline is under construction.

He said doing the renovations over the course of two years, instead of the initial plan of starting this year, will save money on the project.

Architects and engineers on the project attended Tuesday’s meeting as Mark Johnson of H+K Architects presented plans for the school.

District Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna said plans are to build one classroom building focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the east entrance to the school and to renovate the Ellen Butler Vocational Building, rather than building a new structure to house the school’s welding shop.

The current home to the welding, auto and screenprinting shops, also known as the 500 Building, is famous for having its roof blow off not long after it was built and for the odors that often waft through the halls when the doors to the shops are propped open.

“I was under the impression that the building was so broken, it could not be fixed,” board member Karen Chessel said. “But now I’m hearing that you can fix it.”

Besides equipment to improve circulation in the building, plans are to repair the roof and redesign the shop spaces so that the screenprinters have to enter from the exterior and both the welding and auto shop students have to pass though classrooms to get to their work space.

Luna said the welders now have to go through the project area before they get to the classroom, which is the opposite of what it should be.

The elimination of the extra building required that four additional classrooms were added to the structure on the school’s east side referred to as the STEM building.

Originally built in 1975, Douglas High School in Minden replaced Douglas County High School which had been in use since 1916. The school was expanded as a result of the 1992 school bond that built Minden and Piñon Hills elementary schools and Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School.

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