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Grant money sought for teacher housing

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is set to submit an application to a state grant program seeking financial help in building new teacher housing in the remote Kachemak Bay village of Nanwalek.

Resolution 2007-036, passed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its Tuesday meeting, authorizes participation in the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.’s Teacher, Health Professional, and Public Safety House Grant Program.

The AHFC, in partnership with the Denali Commission, has made funding available for teacher housing and the Nanwalek project qualifies, according to Bonnie Golden, borough grants manager.

The fiscal year 2008 borough budget adopted Tuesday makes $200,000 available as matching funds. Administration Chief of Staff Tim Navarre said new teacher housing in Nanwalek is expected to cost $600,000 to $700,000. It is hoped that an AHFC grant would cover the bulk of the cost. Navarre said the borough would also seek funding from other sources.

Affordable teacher housing would benefit the school district by attracting qualified teachers to work in remote areas.

The borough already has successfully completed construction of new teacher housing in the village of Tyonek, a project also partially funded by the AHFC. Mayor John Williams said the borough is fully capable of completing a similar project at Nanwalek.

Assistant Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said the district’s two housing units are nearing the end of their useful lives. There once was a teacherage inside the school building but that has been converted to classroom space.

There are four teachers currently living the housing units. A fifth rents quarters from the village. The principal, who also tends to other district facilities, travels to and from the village, Szymoniak said.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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