Jensen discusses replacing burned building

Humboldt County School District (HCSD) Superintendent Dave Jensen brought the school board up to date regarding the computer lab at Sonoma Heights Elementary School during the board meeting Tuesday night. The portable housing the school’s computer lab caught fire earlier this month.

Jensen said the portable was demolished Tuesday, and would be removed on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the computers were installed in another portable, and the smell of smoke was fading. Jensen also planned to speak with the insurance company on Wednesday about replacing the portable.

Moving forward, Jensen brought up the possibility of constructing a “brick and mortar” addition to the elementary school building to house the computer lab rather, than replacing the portable.

According to an estimate from Mike Mitchell, building an addition equaling the square footage of the portable would cost over $880,000, Jensen said. The district would have to replace the portable three times to equal that amount. In order to make the building project worth the investment, he continued, it would also need to include the addition of more classrooms, which would increase the overall cost.

The time frame for building the addition also creates a problem.

A heating unit in the portable caused the early morning fire on Sept. 21. Winnemucca Volunteer Firefighters took the time to remove the computers before putting the fire out. The portable also served as the internet hub for the school’s three outside units.