Jim Franken, whose family’s company built Sierra Vista Elementary School two decades ago, disagrees that it should be on any list for demolition.
“It sounds like they’re going to burn the house down to get rid of the rats,” Franken said of talk that Sierra Vista needs replacement. “Tearing it down to build a new school is ridiculous.”
Last month, the school board learned that Sierra Vista is No. 40 on a state list of school buildings to be demolished. Officials said that if it weren’t for the statewide budget crunch this year, Sierra Vista could easily have been approved for demolition this fiscal year.
Mike “Mateo” Sena Elementary in Sapello is No. 81 on the state list.
Other than Los Niños Elementary School, Sierra Vista is the newest school in the district. Most of the other schools are many decades older. Sierra Vista is on Legion Drive.
By the district’s account, a deteriorating roof at Sierra Vista is causing problems to the structure, Superintendent Rick Romero said. Water has been leaking where the roof meets skylight-type windows, seeping into the drywall, he said.
Romero said it’s likely that the district could get help from the state Public School Facilities Authority to pay for around two-thirds of a new roof. But he said at a recent board meeting that the district may want to consider other options, given Sierra Vista’s ranking on the demolition list.
Romero said he was advised that the roof had been “poorly constructed.” He said the school has 10 to 20 years of life left.
However, Franken of Las Vegas-based Franken Construction contended during a phone interview that Sierra Vista had many more years ahead of it.
“I’ve walked through that building many times. There is nothing structurally wrong. They have to spend money to get a new roof,” he said. “They’ve been patching over it for years because money has been tight.”
Roofs usually last 15 or 20 years and then they need to be replaced, he said.
“The roof’s design is kind of funky,” he said. “It’s a little more complicated than it should be.”
The architect for the 1988 project, Rowland and Partners, is no longer in existence, Franken said.
Franken suggested the district make sure that whichever roofing contractor it chooses have a reputable manufacturer behind it, so the warranties are good.