By Selwyn Harris
Students, parents, alumni and past and present faculty members at Pahrump Valley High School PVHS celebrated the school’s grand re-opening on Wednesday.
Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton said the event was the culmination of several years of construction at the campus.
“We finished the two-story building last year and we moved into it over the break between the first and second semester. We closed down the front building and had the renovation project and got it completed sometime in September and got occupancy in late October, so now the entire campus is available to the high school. There are some classrooms going to move,” he said.
The revamped campus is inundated with the latest technology.
Mark McGinty, from Las Vegas-based SH Architecture, said the school’s design is both classic and ultra modern.
“We have a neoclassical design out front. The school district put together a design committee and we worked with them and felt they needed an iconic front entrance. Once you get inside, we reinstated some of the historic pathways in this building from its original design and made it breathe again and open up. We have natural lighting with the skylights,” he said.
McGinty noted that the school’s old kitchen and cafeteria was turned into a literal culinary classroom.
“This is the latest and greatest in both Clark County and Nye County. You will not find it anywhere else yet but it is going to be duplicated again pretty soon I’m sure. It is four pods that can handle up to 30 students with a teacher’s station. Each pod is a self-contained cooking unit. It’s complete with walk-in coolers. The student is really immersed in the whole atmosphere if they were to leave school and go right to work,” he said.
Another notable change for the new facility, when compared to the old building, is the cafeteria.
McGinty said it can serve many more students than the former one.
“The cafeteria seats 650 students and it will serve them through in less than 45 minutes. The kitchen is four times the size of the school’s original kitchen,” he said.
McGinty also said that the JROTC wing of the building is quite unique in several ways.
“We put that together so they can segregate the three classrooms or use it as one large classroom when they are doing drills. They can also shut one classroom down and still have a classroom area where it makes about an 1,800-square-foot space, versus a 2,700-square-foot space,” he said.
The new Career and Technical Education programs of the state allows for students to graduate with a certification in several areas, including automobile mechanics.
McGinty said his firm designed many high tech shop classes in the past.
“We have designed for both professional and educational purposes and that auto shop is set up for students to go from school to work again. It is curriculum driven, but the facility supports the curriculum. You give them tall ceilings so you can get the lifts inside and we put some skylights in so we are not burning electricity all of the time.
“Right next to that is the woodshop, which approximately triple compared to what they had originally. Their program space was outgrown years ago so we have corrected that and gave them the proper space and clearances for all of their equipment,” he noted.
PVHS senior Preston Hart, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, was one of several students offering tours of the brand new facility. He said he was thoroughly impressed with the new addition.
“I think it is absolutely beautiful. They did a great job and everything is well planned out and the structure and design is great. When I do the tour, I’m hearing very positive things. When you first walk in, you have the Pahrump Valley High School logo on the floor and it looks great,” he said.
NCSD Transportation and Maintenance Supervisor Cameron McRae noted that many faces from the past also visited the campus on Wednesday.
“It is nice to see some of the retired teachers, administrators have come by. Some of the high school kids who have graduated out of here have come in to look at this. It is a true community excitement about what Nye County has been able to do,” he said.
McRae noted that the remodeling effort will save the district money by using different types of technology both inside and outside.
“The district over a period of time has been taking steps to reduce the cost of utilities. The turf field was put in a few years ago. The new lighting here, though it looks much brighter and more intense, it actually draws and uses less power. The ground source heat pump for the heating and ventilating system was a retrofit and the board elected to go ahead and upgrade the existing heat pump units that supply it. It is more efficient,” he said.
Norton, meanwhile, took time to thank several area businesses for their participation in the event.
“The Pahrump Valley High School Booster Club is doing the cooking. Pahrump Valley Disposal, Valley Electric, and Desert View Hospital contributed enough hamburgers and hotdogs for 500 people. We are so appreciative of that and they have always been great community partners,” he said.
Wednesday’s event coincided with PVHS parent/teacher conferences this week.