Another floor at JDHS ready for students

Work marks last stage of $21 million renovation that began in June 2002

Posted: Friday, January 02, 2004

Workers are substantially completing the renovation of the first floor of Juneau-Douglas High School this week, and teachers are expected to move into their spruced-up classrooms this month.

The first floor has 14 rooms, including business and English classrooms, a computer-based writing lab, a student activities room, and a special-education room. They have new windows, floors, ceilings and whiteboards, and newly painted walls. The corridors, with new floor tiles and lockers, are brighter.

Recent work also includes cleaning and painting some exterior walls, and covering other outside walls with metal siding, said Gary Gillette, project architect with the city.

The work marks the last stage of a $21 million renovation that began in June 2002 and has transformed the 1,600-student school into a more brightly lit, hospitable place to learn. Students will continue to have some classes in the adjacent Marie Drake building.

But the school's renovation will continue with money local voters added last summer, when they approved $12.5 million in bonds. Some of those bond proceeds will replace non-bonded city funds, such as sales taxes, that were used for earlier work. That's because the state will reimburse 70 percent of local school-improvement bonds, but not other types of city funding.

That leaves about $6.3 million for new work at the school. Of that, about $1.7 million of construction work and other expenses were added to the current project.

It includes:

• $600,000 for furnishings and equipment dropped from the original budget.

• $160,000 to the school district for its expenses in preparing the Marie Drake building and Harborview Elementary to accommodate students displaced by the high school renovation.

• And money for more computer lines, carpet in the library stacks, plywood wainscoting in the auxiliary gym, and about $600,000 for new roofs over the auditorium and main gym. That work may take a couple of months, depending on the weather, Gillette said. Coogan Construction of Juneau, which holds the original construction contract, will perform the added construction work.

Work to be bid in the spring is estimated at $4.6 million, Gillette said. The scope hasn't been completely decided upon. But the city and school district officials who are planning the JDHS renovations have approved a list of possible work.

It includes:

• Improving the parking near the school's front doors and near the Marie Drake building and Harborview Elementary.

• Putting in a playing field in front of the Marie Drake building.

• Replacing exterior doors, lockers in the locker rooms and the main gym's floor at JDHS.

• Installing a closed-circuit TV security system and clocks in the hallways at JDHS.

• Upgrading the mechanical system and the gym's lighting at JDHS.

Minch Ritter Voelckers Architects of Juneau, which designed the original renovations, is coming up with two options for outdoor work such as the playing field and parking improvements. The plans are due by early spring, and construction could begin in the summer, said architect Rich Ritter.

The site of the former state ferry building should be large enough for a playing field about two-thirds the size of a regulation soccer field, he said, which would suit a physical-education class. The architects will also examine the parking options at Harborview, Marie Drake, the city's swimming pool and JDHS.

"The parking at that entire campus is woefully below what it should be, so we're going to try to add more parking," Ritter said.

• Eric Fry can be reached at

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