Lake schools to see improvements
George Whittell High School, Kingsbury Middle School and Zephyr Cove Elementary, which account for one-quarter of the schools in the Douglas County School District, will receive more than half of the district’s $2.2 million capital improvement budget.
“The lake has three of our five oldest schools,” said Rick Kester, DCSD director of business services. “I know the lake and valley is a political issue but (the school district) doesn’t look at it that way – they’re just buildings that need improvements.”
Between the three schools, DCSD plans on spending more than $1.2 million dollars on improvements, which are funded by a combination of property, residential and sales tax.
A $1 million addition of three classrooms and a restroom facility at Zephyr Cove Elementary is the largest of the projects scheduled for schools at the lake.
“We’re also replacing or repairing all of the asphalt on the property and adding a new playground that will be safer than the existing one and have handicap accessibility,” Kester said.
According to Kester, students at Whittell High School and Kingsbury Middle School will also be seeing improvements when they start the school year on Aug. 30.
Whittell is slated for about $132,000 in improvements with a new hardwood gymnasium floor, a new intercom system and refurbishing the gymnasium’s wooden bleachers.
Construction at Kingsbury Middle School includes a retaining wall to support a hillside near the playing fields and installation of a video cable to all the classrooms, totaling about $64,000.
Kester said he expects all projects at the lake schools, with the exceptions of the new building construction at Zephyr Cove Elementary, to be completed by the start of school year. The Zephyr Cove project will likely be finished by late November.
This marks the second consecutive year that DCSD has funneled more than $1.2 million into improvements at its lake schools. Last year, the district’s $1.2 million in improvements at the lake schools amounted to 70 percent of its capital improvement budget.
“We’ve really made an effort in those three schools. We’ve completed a lot of the major projects but we still have other work up there,” Kester said. Better playing fields and new roofing for Zephyr Cove and Whittell, according to Kester, are some of the projects planned for the future.
Kester said the district will likely focus on its older schools in the Carson Valley in upcoming years.
“There is the perception that, because of the growth in the valley, all of our schools down here are new,” he said. “It’s not true. Carson Valley Middle School was built in 1945 and is roughly the same age as Whittell. Gardnerville Elementary was built in 1929. Both of those schools need improvements.”
The original building at George Whittell High School was built in 1959 and Zephyr Cove Elementary was originally built in 1962. Kingsbury Middle School, originally built in 1976, is the youngest of the three schools at the lake. All three schools have had additions to their original buildings since they were first constructed.
Improvements at the Lake Tahoe DCSD schools
Zephyr Cove Elementary School
n Addition of three new classrooms
n A new restroom facility
n Replacing asphalt
n New playground
Kingsbury Middle School
n Construction of a retaining wall to support a slope
n Installation of video cable to all classrooms
George Whittell High School
n New hardwood gymnasium floor
n New intercom system
n Refurbished bleachers
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