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District funds high school improvements

The last time Boulder City High School had new classrooms was in 1948, just two years after Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo in Las Vegas.

But all that changed last week after the Clark County School District Board voted 6-1 to provide the school with $16.3 million for new classrooms and administrative facilities.

Boulder City graduate Roxanne Dey was at the meeting on her wedding anniversary to show support for the school she loves.

In a meeting during which Boulder City’s agenda item came on the heels of a five-hour public comment period about the district’s sex education curriculum, those who came to support Boulder City anxiously awaited their turn to speak.

“We want to be good partners. We feel like we have waited our turn in a very respectful manner,” Dey told the board. “We have watched school after school, all of them newer than Boulder City High School, get full phase replacements and amenities that we don’t have for our kids.”

Charlene Reid, an 11th-grade English teacher at the school, had to teach classes outside when the air-conditioning units failed last month.

She said it was the worst opening day she had ever experienced.

“I love the school, but we can’t do this,” she said before the meeting began. “My poor children. What did they learn that first month of school?”

The school was promised a four-phase replacement in 1998, but the district has only provided it with one phase, a new gymnasium and library in 2004. Since then, no other phase has been addressed.

“Sometimes you have to honor those commitments that were made,” Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said.

He reminded the board about the importance of honoring previous commitments before granting new ones.

“The dangers and risks of some of these classrooms and some of the environments that these students are going to school and learning in every day are just too overwhelming,” he said.

Stavan Corbett was the only board member to vote against the improvements. He said it was nothing against Boulder City High, but the option that provided funding for the school took away from improvements to Bell Elementary School.

The $54 million allocated during the meeting came from a 1998 bond that will be used to fund various projects throughout the district.

Bell Elementary, off Interstate 15 and Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, sits at the top of the district’s list for reconstruction based on the condition of its facilities. Bell is in Corbett’s district.

“When we talk about commitments, we could probably fill this room with other schools (that) had similar commitments,” Corbett said.

“Rex Bell was in this same conversation, also.”

Boulder City Councilman Cam Walker, who was the lead proponent in trying to acquire money for the school, said the next step is to work out a process for construction that is in the best interest for students.

“Out of $50 million, we got 30 percent of it. That’s amazing. It’s needed, and it’s warranted,” Walker said.

Four of Walker’s five children have graduated from Boulder City High. He said he’s glad that his daughter will be able to graduate from a new school.

“If it all plays out right, I would think that seventh-graders now could be in a new high school in two years,” he said.

Boulder City High had been overlooked by the district for years, but Walker didn’t think it was because of the school’s outstanding numbers.

“I don’t think it’s because numbers are high. I think there truly are needs in the valley. The needs in their communities are the same as ours. This was a good balance of that,” he said. “I want the next phase. Let’s get this one going, but I want three and four done.

“We won this, but we’ve got two more to go.”

The last two phases include a new performing arts center and major upgrades to all of the fields.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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