Two new parking lots for staff parking at Hawthorne Elementary school are now open.

Tom Gallegos, Mineral County School District maintenance director, surveys with satisfaction one of the new parking lots at Hawthorne Elementary School. The lot was built in cooperation with numerous local and state organizations. (C.W. Wilkinson photo)

Two new parking lots for staff parking at Hawthorne Elementary school are now open.

The lots, built by a collaborative effort between the Mineral County School District; Nevada state agencies; Mineral County officials; and the Hawthorne Army Depot; are on either side of Hawthorne Elementary School.

“We’ve created a parking lot for teachers to park, so now parents have an area to park, drop their kids off, pick them up in a safe manner; they don’t have to cross the street anymore, because now there’s parking for them,” said Tom Gallegos, district maintenance director. “And this was a project that was done by a lot of volunteers.”

The additional parking was added because of safety issues that arose from parents parking along the red-painted curbs in front of the school.

In previous years, the parking lot in front of Hawthorne Elementary School was filled with teachers’ cars.

“It’s always been an issue that the teachers are taking up that parking space,” Gallegos said.

With nowhere else to park, parents often parked or idled along the curbs in front of the school.

While he was out on patrol one day, T.C. Knight, Mineral County fire chief, noticed parents blocking the fire lane.

Gallegos and Knight met to work out the problem and decided the best solution was to build additional parking at the school.

The collaborative effort cost the district about $14,800, Gallegos said. He also estimated donated labor and materials saved the district around $40,000.

The price tag would have been too much for the district to foot on its own, so Gallegos made “a few” phone calls and lined up the assistance, he said.

“It was just something that needed to be done,” Gallegos said. “They’d been talking about it for a while, and it was done.”

The project began two months ago, Gallegos said.

By Aug. 25, crews from the Hawthorne Army Depot had graded the areas set to become parking lots, and the district was waiting to take delivery of the paving material — ground up chunks of asphalt that were once roads.

To support the construction, Hawthorne Utilities sent a water truck and a driver, also free of charge.

The material was donated by the state and trucked to Hawthorne for free, Gallegos said.

“Then all we had to do was hire a company out of Reno to spread the material, compact it, and put two coats of oil to make it a good parking lot,” Gallegos said.

While the savings on the project are certainly a benefit to the district, Gallegos said the real benefit is the collaboration with other entities.

“It is something that shows we are working together. It’s a positive thing, everybody’s coming together for the safety of the kids,” Gallegos said. “It shows that we are working together as a group, and when you work together as a group, you get things done.”