Article Archive
FSA Extinguished
Nevada regents approve recommendation to close Fire Science Academy effective December 31
Vol. 27 Winter 2012

To read coverage from Elko (NV) Daily Free Press, CLICK HERE.

LAS VEGAS, NV – After years of exploring options to sustain the long term financial viability of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Fire Science Academy, a recommendation to cease the Academy’s operations in Carlin, NV., has been approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. The recommendation was presented by University President Marc Johnson at the Regents’ meeting Dec. 2, 2011, in Las Vegas.

“This marks a difficult, yet necessary decision point,” said Johnson. “It follows considerable effort over many years to explore options by which the financial viability of the Fire Science Academy operations might be sustained. I extend my continued appreciation to the staff, elected officials, clients, industry stakeholders and others who worker diligently with the University throughout this period.”

The approved recommendation proposes closure of most of the Fire Science Academy’s operations on Dec. 31, 2011. Some classroom-based training programs will likely be held beyond that date. The Fire Science Academy staff includes 28 full-time positions. It is anticipated that most of the positions will be closed, while some will continue at least through the post-sale transition to the Nevada National Guard.

“The impact of this closure on the Academy’s employees, clients and Elko County is deeply regrettable,” said Johnson. “The employees, in particular, have demonstrated great diligence and professionalism, and have developed a program that is recognized worldwide. The service and commitment is profoundly appreciated.”

The planned sale of the Carlin facility to the Nevada National Guard is moving forward and is anticipated to be finalized within months. While closure of the University’s Fire Science Academy operations is proposed, plans call for future Nevada National Guard activities and construction at the site, including construction of facilities related to a new Nevada National Guard Readiness Center.

The Fire Science Academy’s primary financial challenges result from long-term, legacy debt associated with the purchase and construction of the facility and a related, mediated settlement between the parties involved. The Fire Science Academy currently carries a $24.5 million capital debt and an $11.8 million operating deficit. In 2008, an ad hoc advisory council chaired by former Nevada gov. Kenny guinn issued a recommendation to the University and the Regents to close the Academy if other options to sustain its financial viability could not be identified and implemented.

“The legacy debt and deficit have plagued the Fire Science Academy for many years,” said Johnson. “While the financial performance had improved, the reality is that it does not generate sufficient revenue to provide for needed debt relief.”

 

A per-credit, $6.50 fee paid by University students is currently applied toward the Fire Science Academy’s capital debt. Once the sale of the facility closes, approximately $4 of this fee will be redirected to support new bonding capacity for future, student-oriented, campus capital projects. The remaining portion of the fee will continue to be applied toward the remaining Fire Science Academy’s capital debt. Proceeds from the Carlin facility’s sale and other property sales will also be applied toward the capital dept. The University continues to explore options by which to relieve the operating debt.

Board of Regents press release from Nov. 15:

ELKO, Nev. – After years of exploring options to sustain the financial viability of the Fire Science Academy, a recommendation to cease the Academy’s operations will be presented by the University of Nevada, Reno to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. according to a press release issued by the University Monday (Nov. 14).

The matter will be considered by the Regents at their Dec. 1-2 meeting in Las Vegas.

“It is disappointing to have arrived at this juncture,” said University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson. “I extend my deep appreciation to the staff, elected officials, clients, industry stakeholders and others who worked with the University as we explored various, potential options for sustained financial support for the Fire Science Academy.”

The planned sale of the Carlin, Nev., facility to the Nevada National Guard is moving forward and is anticipated to be finalized within months. While closure of the University’s Fire Science Academy operations is proposed, plans call for future Nevada National Guard activities and construction at the site, including construction of facilities related to a new Nevada National Guard Readiness Center.

The Fire Science Academy’s financial challenges result from a long-term, legacy debt associated with the purchase and construction of the facility and a related, mediated settlement between the parties involved. FSA currently carries a $24 million capital debt and a $12 million operating debt. In 2008, an ad hoc advisory council chaired by former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn issued a recommendation to the University and the Regents to close the Academy if other options to sustain its financial viability could not be identified and implemented.

A per-credit, $6.50 fee paid by University students is currently applied toward the Fire Science Academy’s capital debt. Once the sale of the facility closes, $4 of this fee will be redirected to support new bonding capacity for future, student-oriented, campus capital projects. The remaining portion of the fee will continue to be applied toward the remaining Fire Science Academy’s capital debt. Proceeds from the Carlin facility’s sale and a portion of the 2005 sale of property at Mill Street and McCarran Boulevard in Reno will also be applied toward the capital debt. The University continues to explore options by which to relieve the operating debt.

“The legacy debt has plagued the Fire Science Academy for many years. Despite this, the staff has worked diligently and has developed a program that is recognized worldwide. Their dedication has resulted in a greatly improved annual financial performance. However, the reality is the financial performance does not provide for needed debt relief,” explained Johnson.

The recommendation to the Regents proposes closure of most of the Fire Science Academy’s operations on Dec. 31, 2011. Some classroom-based training programs will likely be held as scheduled in early 2012. The Fire Science Academy staff includes 28 full-time positions. If closure of operations is approved, it is anticipated that most of the positions will be closed, while some will continue at least through the post-sale transition.

To read coverage from Elko (NV) Daily Free Press, CLICK HERE.

To watch video report by KENV-TV, CLICK HERE.

 
 

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