New schools help keep taxpayer money in Washoe County

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The Washoe County School District is moving forward with two new middle schools, one in Sun Valley and one in Spanish Springs. Both are scheduled to be built and open by 2019. But first, they need people to help do the job.

That's why the district, along with the general contractor CORE, is in the process of searching for subcontractors for the two projects.

"It comes down to the most responsive bid and it comes down to the manpower available to do that project," Jason Dondero, senior project manager for CORE, said.

At an open house at Depoali Middle School, many of those subcontractors vying for the job are local businesses.

"We've been in business well over 20 years," Derrick Perkins, superintendent with Sparhawk Metals, said. "Local community, local money, I think it's great."

"We're all local," Justin Nelson with Nelson Electrics said. "We all want to do the project. Our company has been in business now for 45 years, locally owned and operated. With local funding and taxpayers' money, it's good that local contractors get a benefit from that work."

The work is being paid for with money from WC-1, the sales tax initiative passed by voters in 2016. So it was important for the district to hire locally.

"I wanted every local contractor and business to be a part of this, to have every opportunity to be involved." Angie Taylor, president of the Washoe County School Board of Trustees, said. "The community decided they wanted to do this for schools, and every way the community can benefit even beyond education, which is first and foremost, is just a bonus."

that means every local subcontractor hired will help keep taxpayer money in the local economy.

"I think everyone in the community will be happy about the fact that this money is being used locally, and being spent locally, so it feeds right back into the community economically and financially," Trustee Verónica Frenkel said.

Dondero says another reason for hiring local businesses is they know the challenges that come along with these projects.

"You know the local ones are great," he said. "They understand our market right now. They know they don't overreach. They understand their capabilities and they bid responsibly."

The subcontractor bids are due in January. The WCSD Board of Trustees will approve all contracts in March.