City plans more work at JDHS

Project budget includes $1 million for a synthetic playing field

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2005

Juneau-Douglas High School will see further renovation this summer, including the addition of a playing field, the downtown school's first.

City and school district officials approved the scope of the additional work Thursday. The school was substantially renovated in recent years.

The new work - including design, construction and administration - is slated to cost about $4.6 million, of which the state will reimburse 70 percent. The funds come from bonds Juneau voters approved in October 2003.

The work includes a 155-by-300-foot playing field next to the swimming pool and the Marie Drake building. It won't be regulation size for a sport. But city recreation officials and school officials expect it will be heavily used by the community and physical education students.

The city hopes to install a synthetic field similar to the one at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park in the Mendenhall Valley. The budget includes about $1 million for one.

In case that isn't enough, the city plans to ask bidders to provide the cost for a silty-sand field as well. That way, if the city can't afford a synthetic field, it still can award the bid and get on with the work without delay.

A Juneau School Board committee worried about the synthetic field's cost - which could be spent on the planned Dimond Park high school. But the board supports a synthetic field because it will be less expensive than a sand field to maintain, said board President Mary Becker.

With proper drainage, a synthetic field can be used on wet days when a sand field would be unusable, city project architect Gary Gillette added.

This summer's work also will include a reconfiguration of parking at the school's entrance for better safety and to add a few spaces.

The work will include classroom whiteboards; replacing some exterior doors; replacing lockers, installing new flooring and painting walls in the locker rooms; and repairing cracks in the main gym's walls; renovating a classroom for use as the teen health center; installing a closed-circuit television system for security; restoring a multi-media digital TV system for student presentations; and upgrading lighting.

Architects Minch Ritter Voelckers of Juneau are expected to complete the construction documents in March. The Juneau Assembly could approve a construction bid in May, with work to take place from June through August, Gillette said. The playing fields could take longer, he added.

The work will not include a proposed reconfiguration of parking at the swimming pool, the district's central office, the Marie Drake building and Harborview Elementary.

That would have added about 50 parking spaces and taken away some of the Harborview front playground. But the state Department of Education has said it will not reimburse high school bonds used for those projects, Gillette said.

In a related note, a committee of artists has been meeting to set the criteria for selecting new art for JDHS from the renovation funds.

The city is dedicating 1 percent of the construction budget to art. It comes to about $158,000 for art works, with an additional $28,000 to administer the project, Gillette said.

From February to April, the panel expects to request proposals for art, and it will encourage student artists to respond, he said.

• Eric Fry can be reached at

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