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Gender-neutral bathrooms at new WCSD schools will cost $500,000 per school

Photo Credit: MGN Online

All new elementary and middle schools in the Washoe County School District will be built with gender-neutral bathrooms, but the upgrade will come with a big price tag.

A WCSD official confirmed to News 4-Fox 11 that putting gender-neutral bathrooms in a new middle school is a $500,000 upgrade, and slightly cheaper at an elementary school.

Tami Zimmerman, WCSD director of planning and design, said there will be gender-neutral bathrooms only — no more boys' and girls' restrooms.

"They're individual stalls with full-height partitions from ceiling to the floor. They have a full door on them, not just a stall door," Zimmerman said.

"This is kind of the norm that we're getting to."

Students will wash and dry their hands together outside the stalls, where teachers and administrators can supervise them better.

District officials said they've seen other school districts try this method without any problems. The gender-neutral bathroom concept came after consulting teachers, parents and students during the education specification committee process.

WCSD Superintendent Traci Davis said the extra cost is worth it.

"It's a small cost to the long-term of what we're trying to do to educate our children," Davis said.

"This makes it pretty fair for a lot of kids."

Each stall has its own fan, light and insulated door, contributing to the higher cost.

Additionally, construction costs in general are drastically higher from when the last new schools were built a decade ago.

An elementary school in South Meadows and middle schools in Spanish Springs and Sun Valley will be the first to have only gender-neutral bathrooms.

It remains to be seen if new high schools will have gender-neutral bathrooms as well.

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