West OKs contract for sports facility

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By Don Pace

The West Las Vegas School board last week approved a master plan and contract for the first phase of the multi-purpose sports facility.

The board indicated the necessity to have the project move forward before asking for more money for the next phase.

The board also discussed its legislative agenda concerning the athletic complex, calling it the district’s No. 1 priority. The Legislature starts meeting this week.

Antonio Ortega, with Ortega, Rodriguez and Romero Architects, told the board he met with state Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, concerning second-phase funding for the sports facility.

He said Vigil offered his support and guidance for the complex, which will include the football-soccer field, track, tennis courts and other amenities. He said Vigil was speaking on behalf of area legislators, who will also support the second-phase funding request at this year’s legislative session.

Superintendent Jim Abreu told the board his staff has been busy formulating the 2008 legislative priorities for the legislative session, which starts Tuesday in Santa Fe. He said getting money to complete the stadium project is at the top of the list.

Board President Kenny Lujan agreed with Abreu but warned that the word was that money would be tight this year. He also encouraged all board members to be at the Roundhouse, especially when committees were listening to the district’s legislative requests. All members agreed that a show of force was in the district’s best interests and said they would attend important meetings.

Abreu said the existing heating and cooling system at the middle school is more than 20 years old and is not functioning adequately.

“When you fix one part, another part breaks,” he said.

The district will also be seeking funding for upgrades to strengthen security at all campuses. Abreu said the district wants money for electronic surveillance and security systems. He said the added security would serve as a deterrent to vandalism.

Another big ticket item that Abreu said has been dormant for five years is the fifth phase of the high school construction that began under former Superintendent Orlando Espinoza a decade ago. That includes a new gymnasium and performing arts center.

Abreu said the district has no facilities to support performing arts.

“A performing arts center will support music, choir and fine arts.”

He said the district is committed to strengthening those programs, which have won several awards in the past few years, including 11 students making all-state in music and choir — “the most in the history of West Las Vegas Schools.”

Abreu said funding for the performing arts center was submitted to the Public School Financing Authority, but was not funded because that agency does not fund performing arts.