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Timeline for BCHS renovations scheduled

A thorough timeline has been set for the renovation of Boulder City High School and its classrooms that have been in place since the school opened in the 1940s.

According to Principal Amy Wagner, school officials have been in discussions with SH Architecture on blueprints for the project. Schematic changes have been made to the original plan since it was put forward nearly a decade ago when the school was first promised new classrooms, she said.

Part of the reasoning behind the changes was because Boulder City High School has about 100 less students now than it did when the original plan was discussed. The main component behind the decline in student population is the emergence of magnet schools across the Las Vegas Valley in the past 10 years, according to Wagner.

“Kids can get their college degrees while they’re in high school,” she said in reference to Community College High School. “We also have a lot of kids who go to Las Vegas Academy.”

Wagner said Boulder City High had about 700 students 10 years ago. Today, the school has about 620.

The new plan is to add art and drama rooms, two things that were not part of the original schematics, Wagner said. Since the school was promised upgrades nine years ago but never saw them, Wagner said she wanted to make sure they still had those facilities just in case they had to wait another decade for new ones.

“Who knows when the next phase will be?” she said in regard to uncertainty of the school’s future upgrades. “Without having that (certainty), you can’t take something away without replacing it.”

City Councilman Cam Walker has helped lead the charge to get the funding to replace the classrooms that have been there since Harry Truman was president. In September, Walker’s presentation to the Clark County School District’s Bond Oversight Committee, as well as public support from Boulder City High graduates and other city officials, helped persuade the committee to recommend the school board fund the upgrades.

The following month, the board voted 6-1 to provide the school with $16.3 million for new classrooms and administrative facilities. The money comes from a 1998 bond worth $54 million that will be used to fund various projects throughout the district.

Facilities at Boulder City High had gotten so bad that a few teachers had to teach classes outside during the first month of the school year because air-conditioning units were not working inside.

“Those teachers deserve a lot of credit for putting up with it,” Walker said.

Despite subpar learning conditions and a lack of funding, Boulder City High School has maintained one of the highest graduation rates in the district. After graduating 89 percent of its senior class during the 2012-13 school year, the school was designated as one of the district’s five-star high schools.

Walker said SH Architecture plans to bring in a general contractor by March at the latest, and the project is expected to break ground in June. The old gym, which was transformed into a library, as well as a new wing of classrooms constructed during the original phase replacement 10 years ago will not be touched, Wagner said.

Once the 2015-16 school year begins, portables will be set up for those teachers displaced by the construction.

“Let’s get shovels in the ground and make sure they (the district) will go through with their commitments,” Walker said. “It’ll be a tough school year next year.”

Wagner said a bit of uncertainty comes with the construction of new classrooms, but people are excited for the modernization of Boulder City High School.

“It’s changed, and no one likes change because they don’t know what it’s going to bring,” she said. “We’re just going to embrace it, and we’re excited for the new possibilities.”

The project will take about a year to complete and is expected to be ready for the 2016-17 school year.

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

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