Debbie Smith CTE Academy High School | Nevada

City: Reno
State: Nevada
Owner:  Washoe County School District
General Contractor: Q&D Construction

Debbie Smith CTE Academy High School Project Background

In November 2022, the Washoe County School District began the construction of the Debbie Smith CTE Academy High School on the premises of the former Hug High School. This upcoming high school aims to offer diverse specialized training opportunities for students, encompassing fields such as culinary arts and nutrition, engineering, marketing, medical careers, animal sciences, skilled trades, adult education, and more. Notably, the school is named in honor of Debbie Smith, a former Nevada State Senator who represented parts of Reno, Sparks, Sun Valley, and unincorporated Washoe County. The new Debbie Smith CTE Academy High School is scheduled to open its doors to students in August of 2025.

Schnabel’s Role

In the spring of 2023, Q&D Construction, the general contractor for the project, contracted Schnabel to design and build a 9,500-square-foot permanent soil nail wall. This wall serves a dual purpose, providing support for excavation and serving as the permanent earth retention for the building wall of the three-floor, 200,000-square-foot high school facility. The use of soil nailing technology is a common construction method for retaining soil during excavation. In this case, the soil nailing wall is a crucial element in ensuring the structural integrity of the upcoming high school facility.


From the beginning, this project was faced with difficult drilling conditions in the mixed ground encountered at the site. These conditions required modifying drilling procedures and techniques to accommodate the ground as it varied across the project site. All of these challenges were accomplished while maintaining the tight project schedule.


Schnabel completed the permanent soil nail over a two-month period in the summer of 2023. The soil nail wall will provide excavation support for the project and facilitate the construction of the new high school, which will provide many specialized training opportunities to the students. Schnabel was able to overcome difficult drilling conditions by modifying their drilling procedures to ensure the timely completion of their work. The entire project was completed with a perfect safety record meeting the client’s satisfaction. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project.

Soil Nail Wall
Soil Nail Wall
Soil Nail Wall
Soil Nail Wall