Originally constructed around 1950 from old Army Air Corps Barracks discarded from the Stead Air Force Base north of Reno, the Sierra Vista Elementary school was targeted for replacement prior to the economic downturn. Rather than allow funding constraints delay improvements the Washoe County School District elected to move forward with a remodel and expansion to bring the school up to par with peer elementary schools within the District.
The 7,645 square foot addition includes a multipurpose room, administration area, and two new classrooms totaling 1,900 square feet. The existing library has been remodeled and converted into a third new classroom, while the existing multi-purpose room has been re-purposed into a modern library with numerous accessibility and technology upgrades to accommodate the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math [STEM] focused curriculum enhancements. The school has also been renamed the Dorothy Lemelson STEM Academy.