The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) Board of Education has changed their 2006 calendar for spring break to March 3rd 10th, to coincide with the new dates for the Arctic Winter Games (AWG), adopted by the AWG Host Society Board of Directors at their meeting March 11th.
In making the request, AWG Host Society President Dale Bagley stated a two fold purpose for the change, "One is to avoid conflicting dates with the State high school basketball championships in Anchorage and secondly concerns the weather in late March may not be as favorable to several of the outdoor sports scheduled for the Arctic Winter Games," said Bagley.
Assistant Superintendent Sam Stewart explained to the Board that changing the schedule would actually balance out the academic quarters more evenly with the third quarter and the fourth having the same amount of days and overall academically the new schedule would be better for the students then the traditional one.
AWG General Manager Loren Smith said, "We appreciate the Board's unanimous decision in moving the dates, it will help Team Alaska out as well with their team selections because there will be no athletes with conflicting regional or district competitions so it's a 'win win' situation and it'll make for better competition overall."
The Host Society was also excited about news from U.S. Senator Ted Stevens last week when the Senator announced that he had secured $3.35 million dollars in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. The bill which became law earlier this year allocates the following funds for the Games:
$750,000 to the Kenai Peninsula Borough for recreation improvements including ice rink construction in Homer, trail lighting and upgrades on the Tsalteshi Trials and refrigeration and scoreboard repair in Soldotna.
$1,000,000 in transportation funds that will go to the Homer Hockey Association to improve rink parking and road access, and the City of Soldotna for Sports Center parking and access.
$1,500,000 in funding for buses and bus facilities within the Kenai Peninsula Borough for the purchase of twenty-one activity buses which the Borough School District will operate during the Games and then have for use after the Games.
$100,000 for professional and cultural program development from the Department of State.
Senator Stevens stated that "The outpouring of support from individuals, corporations, and municipalities has been terrific in setting the stage for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. By bringing Arctic peoples from around the globe to the Kenai Peninsula, the Arctic Winter Games is able to present some of the best our State has to offer. I am happy to help support the Games and wish all of the competitors, especially the Alaskans, the best of luck."
Revenue Development committee chairman Bill Popp said, "The 2006 Arctic Winter Games Host Society deeply appreciates the continuing support provided by Senator Stevens and the Senate Appropriations staff for our efforts to put on the best Arctic Winter Games ever in March, 2006." The games are expected to include over 2,000 athletes and cultural performers and 1,500 special guests from seven participating circumpolar nations. The 7-day event will require over 3,000 volunteers and is expected to attract between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators. The budget for the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games, including the two years of planning and development efforts leading up to the Games is projected at $5.3 million cash and in-kind contributions.
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