Schools Quickly Recovering After Copper Thefts

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The lights are back on at several local schools where thieves stole copper wiring used to light football fields and parking lots.

As recently as last week, electrical boxes at several schools were an absolute mess with pounds of crucial copper wiring gone. Now, thanks to some hard working engineers with the school district, what may have been a season long problem may actually be fixed shortly.

Friday night lights will live on at several local high schools where thieves stole nearly 12 thousand dollars worth of copper wiring.

Engineers say initially, the situations at North Valleys; Spanish Springs; and Damonte Ranch high schools looked grim, but they never lost hope that they could repair the damage.

"All along, we were pushing to do whatever we had to do to start football season," says Dale Sanderson, a maintenance worker with the Washoe County School District. "We didn't want to start the year with that kind of black mark on things. We were going to do whatever it took to get them on line."

But Sanderson says the repairs come at a hefty price. It cost the school district about seven thousand dollars to fix the problems at Damonte Ranch and Spanish Springs. And roughly six thousand dollars to repair parking lots at Van Gorder Elementary in Wingfield Springs. The big blow was a whopping 20 thousand dollar charge to repair major damages to the lights and scoreboard at North Valleys High School.

In all, the school district will shell out $35 thousand to undo the mess at all four schools. Sanderson says the cost hurts, but it's a small price to pay considering what was at stake.

"Obviously, we wish it hadn't happened because it caused us to stop doing what we were doing here and the start of school is a very busy time. It cost us money and it certainly probably wouldn't deter them, but I think we showed we have the ability to make some major repairs and open school on time and that's what we're all about."

While things are completely taken care of at Damonte Ranch, crews are still working at a few of the other schools. But everything should be finished by the end of the week.