Nevada panel: Shut down state fire academy

A committee formed to assess the future of the Nevada Fire Science Academy in Carlin has recommended that it be shut down.

The committee was composed of Reno businessperson Theodore “TJ” Day, Sierra Pacific board member Phil Satre, Nevada Athletic Commission chair Skip Avansino and former Gov. Kenny Guinn, who chaired the panel.

Regent Dorothy Thompson, who represents Carlin, says she hopes to save the academy by attracting corporate support.

The academy, which has never paid for itself, has been subsidized in recent years by a $5 per-credit fee at UNR, a fee that is not paid at other Nevada higher education institutions. That’s $185 to $200 a year for most students at UNR. Most students at the academy are from out of state. “I don’t think you can find any UNR kids that’s ever gone to that school,” Guinn said.

In spite of the UNR subsidy, which has gone to pay off bonds, the academy has still run up a $41 million debt. Guinn predicted, “It’s going to get worse.”

The academy is one of two in the nation, but the other, in Texas, gets a lot of support from corporations in Texas oil country.