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April 21, 2014

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New dome on Boulder City landmark replaces beloved mosaic one that leaked

Image

Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Workers, from left, Randy Wright, Fernando Gonzalez and Felipe Arellano, affix an ornate cross atop the new metal dome as they prepare for its installation Monday on the cathedral tower at St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch in Boulder City.

St. Jude's Ranch Dome

Workers Felipe Arellano and Randy Wright, right, peer underneath the new metal dome as they help secure the sides together before its installation on top of the cathedral tower Monday at St. Jude's Children's Ranch in Boulder City. Launch slideshow »

St. Jude's Ranch Dome

Workers Felipe Arellano and Randy Wright, right, peer underneath the new metal dome as they help secure the sides together before its installation on top of the cathedral tower Monday at St. Jude's Children's Ranch in Boulder City. Launch slideshow »

Beyond the Sun

A Boulder City landmark along the road to Hoover Dam has a new look.

For decades the chapel tower of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children was topped by a mosaic tile dome and a 6-foot-tall ornate wrought iron cross. But cracks in the tiles allowed water to leak in and damage the wood underneath so badly that after some high winds last winter, the cross tilted about 20 degrees, said Christine Spadafor, St. Jude’s executive director.

Repairing the original mosaic dome was too expensive, so St. Jude’s went with a more resilient alternative — steel, said Greg Andrews, chief financial officer of the home for children who have been abused or neglected.

On Monday, a crane lowered the new 1,200-pound maroon dome — with the cross standing arrow-straight atop it — onto St. Jude’s tower.

“It’s more than a dome,” and it’s not just a landmark for motorists, Spadafor said.

“When the children see that, they know they’re home,” she said.

Now that the Boulder City landmark is back, St. Jude’s has been talking to potential donors to help replenish the ranch’s emergency fund for the $30,000 cost, Spadafor said.

•••

The Henderson City Council and the advisory board it appointed generally agree on the city’s goal to build a space and science center, but they don’t agree on where it should be built.

From the proposal’s earliest stages, the plan has been to build it on a

160-acre former gravel pit owned by the city, north of Galleria Road and east of U.S. 95.

The City Council, however, has commissioned an outside market study to look at a second site, on the northwest corner of Lake Mead Parkway and Water Street, within the Lake Mead Crossing development. The study’s results are expected next week.

Councilwoman Kathleen Boutin, whose ward includes the Galleria site, said council members wanted to look at other options because of the estimated $8.7 million cost to restore the former gravel pit to developable standards.

The study of the Lake Mead Crossing site will cost $50,000, which is why Mayor Andy Hafen voted against it. His was the only opposing vote.

The difference between the two sites boils down to one issue: The

160-acre Galleria site would support a campus, the Lake Mead site, a single building. The advisory board’s vision has been to use the 160-acre site to create a campus that could be home to several cultural attractions and parks at its core, then sell off the remaining land to private developers for retail, commercial and residential development.

That plan, board members argue, would allow the city to recoup any investment it makes in preparing the site and building the space and science center while providing a healthy return.

•••

Less than three months after successfully opposing a charter school’s efforts to move into a vacant office building across the street, Green Valley Christian School is working on a plan to expand into the same building.

The Henderson Planning Commission is to take up Green Valley Christian’s request for the necessary permits Oct. 15.

One issue is the potential traffic impact — the issue that Green Valley Christian raised when it fought the Coral Academy of Science’s plans to rent the same building.

Green Valley Christian administrators and parents argued that another school on their cul-de-sac, Valle Verde Court, would create overwhelming traffic in the area and pose a safety risk to students.

Green Valley Christian’s proposed expansion would house its middle- and high-school students. The school only has 39 middle- and high-school students, but it is asking for permission to have up to 360.

Advocates of Green Valley Christian’s application contend it won’t have the traffic impact that Coral Academy would have because many parents of middle- and high-school students will already be at Green Valley Christian for their younger children.

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