As property gets cleared the first stage of a 48-year-old dream of student housing at Kenai Peninsula Colleges (KPC) Kenai River Campus is underway. KPC director Gary Turner reflected on site recently for the Dispatch, "These efforts started some 48 years ago when Clayton Brockel founded the college and became its first director. It was just a year after the college started that Clayton started working on this project, so it's been a long time coming, and a lot of work that has gone forward by a lot of folks that preceded me to make this happen. It was an honor to have Clayton here for the official ground breaking and shovel some dirt with us and an appropriate time to dedicate his plaque in the building here that bears his name," said Turner.
Phillip Miller will be overseeing the new construction projects at KPC which include the new housing complex and new Career and Technical Education Center. "The Career and Technical Education Center are currently out for bids with a construction opening bid date scheduled for May 1st, and hopefully that contract will be awarded in the near future. We have gone ahead and cleared the trees in advance of construction at the Career Tech and housing site so the changes are already underway. This is an exciting time and a great opportunity for our community and the college which will bring a lot change to our community when we bring the additional students to live here on campus and transform from a commuter school to a commuter/residential school where students will have even a greater involvement in our community this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us," said Miller.
Turner says he is hoping for occupancy of both facilities in fall of 2013, "We're hoping that's going to work out, but a lot depends on weather and the contractor, but that's our plan right now. We are hearing rumors that folks are already talking what businesses would be compatible now that KPC is going to have housing and folks are looking along Poppy Lane for possible business sites. At the ground breaking Soldotna Mayor Micciche said the project is renewing interest in a walking bridge across the Kenai River that could connect the campus with the City of Soldotna, which is a really good idea to pull the community together, so lots of exciting things being talked about and envisioned now that we are underway. The College Counsel has worked tirelessly to bring forth these projects over many years and I just want everyone to know that without all their efforts this just wouldn't be happening today. We're ready to have more rural students come to us, they'll find us a caring place where there transition to a larger campus will be possible through a transition phase where we are more of a family that wants them to be successful in all their endeavors," said Turner.