FOX5 investigates $26M price tag for Eldorado High School, other campuses

The price tag for security upgrades at Eldorado High School was $26 million, while other schools received investments at only a fraction of the cost.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 8:22 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - County officials told FOX5 last school year that they were seeing a rise in campus violence at Clark County School District, and in April, a 16-year-old student was charged with attempted murder and sexual assault of a teacher in her classroom at Eldorado High School.

Later, on July 12, FOX5 uncovered that the district spent more than $26 million on security upgrades to Eldorado. Viewers subsequently encouraged us to learn more about the price tag and uncover the itemized costs.

FOX5 just received those public records back.

Emails show that when CCSD’s Construction Management department first presented CCSD’s Chief Financial Officer Jason Goudie with the cost for Eldorado’s security improvements. He pushed back, and wrote, “I do not think it appropriate to spend $26 million on Eldorado.”

He added, “This will cause an upheaval in the community that we are significantly protecting one set of students better.”

And he was right about some of the reaction it caused.

One CCSD principal who wished to stay anonymous out of fear of retaliation told FOX5, “26 million is asinine. Previous schools just built from scratch only cost 31 million for the entire building and infrastructure... This is madness!”

Still, others in the community take the position that no matter what the cost, the investment in Eldorado is supremely justified.

A young man who was a senior at Eldorado when this happened said he is pleased to see the devotion of funds after the terror of what happened on his campus.

“I hope that they do whatever is necessary to benefit the school’s security structure,” said Omaree Van-Dyke, former Eldorado student. “Whatever helps the school, whatever helps the staff and administration and the students. Most importantly, [that] the students feel safe there. I think they really have to think about what takes place. They have to think about everybody in that case.”

The public document that lists itemized costs for security upgrades in schools considered “Priority 1″ shows campuses such as Desert Oasis, Bonanza, and Western.

For these schools, itemized costs are revealed: camera augmentation, 4k cameras, intrusion detection, and more.

However, in the line for Eldorado High School, the itemized costs are grayed out, despite the total being listed as $26,275,700.

The other high schools’ total costs are in the $5 to $7 million range.

But if you scroll up to conversations that took place just a couple of weeks prior, you can see the itemized costs that they projected for Eldorado. At the time, they projected a $20 million total expense. The most expensive cost of all: “network,” at more than $8.5 million.

What is network, you ask? We asked our aforementioned principal what they thought, but they were not sure. They said camera systems are “networked,” in the fact that CCSD police can log in to them, but they also added that they feel the amount still seems too high.

FOX5 asked district leaders for interviews, but they were not granted. Instead, CCSD Media Relations pointed us to the July 14 board meeting, where Chief of Facilities Nathan Miller attributed the $26 million cost to the state of disrepair that Eldorado was already in, as well as the engineering of a new electrical service.

“The addition of the instant alert system and security camera enhancements has required specific and considerable infrastructure modernizations, most notably relative to electrical work and low-voltage design and construction. With the aforementioned necessary modernizations, other needed improvements were authorized,” wrote Miller in a letter to Superintendent Jesus Jara and the Board of Trustees.

He went on to say that the improvements would have been needed inevitably to allow the school to function properly in the coming years ahead, and also minimize future disruptions to students and staff.