Posted: Monday, February 26, 2001

Superintendent favors Morse for JDHS reins

JUNEAU - Juneau schools Superintendent Gary Bader said today he will recommend the Juneau School Board select interim Juneau-Douglas High School Principal Deb Morse for the permanent position.

Morse, a former assistant principal and teacher, is serving as interim principal of the 1,600-student school this school year after principal Sasha Soboleff moved to a central office position.

Morse and Justin Smith, principal of a small high school in Wyoming, were the finalists for the JDHS job. The site council and administrators publicly interviewed them Friday at the high school library.

"Mrs. Morse was the choice of the site council members that interviewed applicants, and she was my choice as well," Bader said in a statement. "I have great expectations for the future of Juneau-Douglas High School under Deb's leadership."

The school board is expected to consider Bader's recommendation at its next meeting, scheduled for March 6.

Coogan wins contract for UAS building

JUNEAU - The University of Alaska Southeast has awarded a $3 million contract to Coogan Construction of Juneau to build the first phase of a classroom building.

The two-story, 22,000-square-foot addition to Egan Library will have 16 classrooms of various sizes, including a 150-seat auditorium-style lecture hall. The building will extend from the library entrance to the bus turnaround.

The first phase, which will erect the building's shell and enclose it, is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 20, said Keith Gerken, UAS director of facilities services. The library will remain open its usual hours throughout construction, he said.

The project has received $5.5 million from the Legislature so far, and UAS is seeking $2.5 million more to complete the building. If the Legislature doesn't appropriate the additional money this session, the university will use about $1 million of its current funds to make some of the classrooms usable next year, Gerken said.

At $3,017,000, Coogan's was the lowest of five bids, which ranged up to nearly $3.7 million.

Groups try to intervene in state roadless suit

ANCHORAGE - Eight conservation groups are attempting to intervene in opposition to a state lawsuit that seeks to prevent the federal government from implementing the former Clinton administration's roadless plan in Alaska.

Lawyers from Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council filed the motion to intervene in the case last week in federal court in Anchorage.

"It's shameful that Gov. Knowles is ignoring the wishes of so many Alaskans by challenging the forest protection rule in court," said Mark Rorick of the Juneau group of the Sierra Club. "While we believe the legal challenges are politically motivated and flimsy at best we cannot count on the Bush administration to vigorously defend the policy."

Chugach Electric Corp., meanwhile, announced it is seeking to join the suit. The Clinton administration plan would ban roadbuilding in nearly 99 percent of the 5.6 million acre Chugach National Forest, the utility said.

Knowles' suit alleges the plan violates public process provisions in numerous federal laws, including the National Forest Management Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Former UA president dead at age 94

ANCHORAGE - William Wood, the fourth president of the University of Alaska and the person credited with turning a single-campus school into a major university, died Sunday.

Wood, who died at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at the age of 94, served as university president from 1960 to 1973. During his tenure the university expanded from College Hill in Fairbanks to communities across Alaska, including Anchorage and Juneau.

"As leader of the university, he built a major educational institution with an international reputation for excellence and extended its service to the entire state," university President Mark Hamilton said in a statement.

Wood became president on July 1, 1960. At the time, the university consisted of a single campus with 921 students. When he retired, more than three times that number of students were enrolled at the Fairbanks campus and about the same number were enrolled at the Anchorage campus. The University of Alaska had become a statewide institution covering three regions and had eight community colleges.

Wood also was instrumental in increasing the university's operating budget from about $5.7 million in fiscal 1959 to nearly $41.7 million in fiscal 1971.

Wood was born near Jacksonville, Ill., on Feb. 3, 1907. He received his bachelor's degree from Illinois College in 1927 and his doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1939. He was in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946 and served in World War II.

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