Board approves capital improvement list

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2002

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education approved a 49-point, six-year capital improvement project list Monday night at its semimonthly meeting.

At the top of the list was a new $15 million middle school in Seward to be completed by fiscal year 2005. Borough voters approved the sale of school bonds for the new site if the state agrees to at least 60 percent debt reimbursement.

The current middle school does not meet state code and has a number of severe maintenance problems, including a leaky roof that drips on students.

"When it rains a lot, students actually hold books over their heads to keep dry while standing at their lockers," Dave Spence, director of the district's planning and operations department, said Tuesday.

Priority No. 4 on the capital improvements list is a new roof for the existing building, estimated to cost $250,000, to serve until the new school is constructed.

"Construction projects, start to finish, take about two years," Spence said. "That roof needs attention now."

Other projects at the top of the list included an estimated $900,000 remodel of Soldotna Middle School and a $400,000 fire alarm upgrade at Kenai Middle School.

The priority list is developed each year by a team of people from the borough's maintenance and public works departments, the district's planning and operations department and school building administrators.

"This is an ongoing process we do every year," Spence said.

The group inspects each building in the school district and sits down with administrators and head custodians at each site. Then, site representatives are asked to prioritize the needs at their school.

The borough and district representatives take lists from each site and compile an annual list of priorities. The list goes to the school board for approval, then to the borough assembly.

The school district applies for state grants through the Department of Education and Early Development to complete the projects, while the assembly submits the priority list to the Legislature to fund capital improvements, he said.

The EED and Legislature do not have to fund the projects in order of their priority on the list, Spence said.

"A lot of times, some are passed by and others are picked up depending on (the Legislature's) priorities or constituents," Spence said. "It's a pretty complex process, but a generally effective process.

"The district continues to be optimistic about this," he added. "We'll see what happens in the next legislative session."

The school board passed the priority list by a 6-1 vote. School board member Margaret Gilman voted against the initiative, saying she objected to one of the priorities: the $1 million resurfacing of four high school tracks.

"Even though it's not district money, I think there are better things we could be spending a million dollars on," Gilman said. She added, however, that she was in full support of the rest of the list.

The list can be viewed at the district's Web site at www.kpbsd.k12., by going to "meeting agenda and packet info," then Oct. 21.

The board also:

Selected new officers, as it was the first meeting since the borough election. Joe Arness was named board president; Sammy Crawford, vice president; Gilman, clerk; and Deb Germano, treasurer.

Approved the resignation of Susan Rorrison, a kindergarten teacher at Sears Elementary, and approved her as a substitute teacher at the Montessori Charter School. Teacher assignments also were approved for Kristina Salness, temporary generalist at Kenai Alternative High School; Patricia J. Truesdell, temporary generalist at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School; Tammy Flanders, librarian at Mountain View Elementary; Nancy Thibodeau, temporary fourth-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary; Jennifer R. McDonald, language arts teacher at Seward Middle School; and Janice Hottman, temporary Title 1 teacher at West Homer Elementary.

Approved the expulsion of an unidentified student for violating school and state weapons rules.

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