Photo Courtesy of Van Woert Bigotti Architects
Parents of middle schoolers rejoice! The opening of the new Marce Herz Middle School (MHMS) will be a huge boon for our community.
Students from the South Reno neighborhoods of ArrowCreek, Montreux, Saddlehorn, Fieldcreek, Mount Rose, Galena Forest and St. James Estates currently have to make the trek 10+ miles to Pine Middle School, which is located near Meadowood Mall off Neil Road. With the first bell at 7:20am, those students taking district transportation often have to hop on the bus as early as 6:30am. In the winter months, this means waiting for the bus before the sun even comes up.
When MHMS opens this August 2020, it’ll be in a much better centralized location. Situated at 13455 Thomas Creek Road, it’s right at the convenient intersection of three adjacent neighborhoods – ArrowCreek, Fieldcreek and Saddlehorn.
The school broke ground on May 22, 2019 and the construction has been swift ever since. The 190,000 square foot campus will have the capacity to house 1,400 students. Construction costs for the new school exceed $74 million dollars.
According to Principal Brandon Bringhurst, they have moved enough dirt to fill over 82 Olympic-sized swimming pools. They are also drilling approximately 300 wells, each about 350 feet deep. “It’s part of the geothermal system for heating and cooling the school,” Bringhurst said. “This system will be a huge benefit to the long-term costs and sustainability of the school. All of these wells are connected with a closed loop of continuous piping through which the heat is circulated and exchanged with the ground. That’s over 40 miles of piping.”
Bringhurst brings with him 20 years of experience in education. He started with five years of teaching, with the remaining years as an administrator at the middle school and high school level. MHMS will be his third principalship.
Bringhurst is in the process of selecting 40 teachers and a variety of personnel. Already hired is Sarah Peterson, as the First Assistant Principal. She has 15 years of experience in education, both at the high school and middle school levels. Paula Edmonds has been hired as the Administrative Assistant.
Technology is at the forefront of MHMS’s mission. Each student will be issued a laptop, and all classrooms will be equipped with additional technology for instruction. The curriculum will offer unique elective classes that bring 21st century skills to life, such as Air and Space, Energy and Environment, Robotics, App Development, and Engineering.
Photo Courtesy of The Marce Herz Foundation
MHMS is named after Marce Herz, co-founder of the Sky Tavern Jr. Ski Program. She taught in northern Nevada for 10 years, including five years at Mt. Rose Elementary School. She was a world-class athlete who set U.S. and world records in track and field sports, as well as 16 amateur alpine ski titles. She was a co-founder of Sky Tavern Jr. Ski Program, the oldest and largest non-profit ski/snowboarding program in the United States. The program says it has instructed more than 100,000 children since its formation in 1948.
MHMS will serve the new middle school model of sixth through eighth grades. The Washoe County School District Zoning Advisory Committee recently voted to rezone all of MHMS to Galena High School, making for a smooth transition to secondary education.
Our neighborhood is fortunate to already be zoned with two award-winning schools in the district. In 2016, US. News & World Report ranked Galena High School as the #2 Best Public High School in Nevada. Galena has also been designated as a Signature STEM Academy, which encompasses fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students are enrolled in a four- year course sequence that follows a nationally-recognized curriculum (Project Lead The Way). This provides then with challenging activity, project, problem-based learning with meaningful assessments.
In 2013, Hunsberger Elementary won the Blue Ribbon School Award and was named the #1 Public Elementary School in the State of Nevada. It has consistently ranked in the top ten ever since.
Now with MHMS, our community will round out the education trifecta, making our zoned schools more desirable than ever.
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