8 Evans Avenue homes slated for demolition

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It is one of the older and most established areas of town, where families lived right alongside the university.

But homeowners have moved, replaced by renters. The University gained ownership of the homes and now has plans to demolish them. The site will be the new home of a building for the engineering school at UNR.

It will be 100,000 square feet with faculty offices, student work stations and labs. But until that happens, longtime residents are stopping by to pay their last respects.

One of those residents is Gene Pascucci, who grew up in the Evans Avenue neighborhood and is now a local dentist. His family home was demolished a couple years ago.

He rode his bike to the area Sunday to look at the remaining homes and think back to a time where his friends and he would ride their Stingray bicycles in and around campus. He said he was flooded with emotions.

"I think it is your life, and it is gone. We waited for sunrise to catch all the houses for their last…” Pascucci says as he trails off in thought.

The $90,000,000 building will be funded by UNR donors and state money. It will house all aspects of the engineering department.

Pascucci says the vacant homes housed families too, with skilled workers. He says his friend’s father was a perfect example of that.

“I went into an old friend’s house; it was open. I was surprised it was open. His dad had done all the carpentry. It was really beautiful inside. I wish I could move it. I wish I could take them all,” he says.

The university has to take care of the increased number of students coming to campus. He says he understands that. But that accommodation, he says, will change the complexion of the town where he grew up, was educated in, and set up a practice.

“We are a different city now,” he says. “We aren’t going to be the Biggest Little City anymore. We might be the littlest biggest.”