Rotary service project draws to a close

Posted: Friday, March 08, 2002

Since early October, the Juneau Rotary Club has been investing sweat equity and hard cash in an ambitious remodeling project for one-half of the 1,000-square-foot Big Brothers Big Sisters office above McDonald's. This was one of Rotary's major service projects for 2001-2002, and had much more involved than the usual project, said Rotary Service Co-Chairman Cliff Stone.

The space at 110 Seward St. "went from four bare walls to four spaces - three offices and one storage room," Stone said. "For a bunch of amateurs - 22 people - working virtually every weekend and some nights, it looked good. And it was a lot of fun."

A plaque about the project will be dedicated at 12:30 p.m., March 12, Stone said.

The project began Oct. 6. An exchange student from Italy hauled lumber up two flights of stairs to the work site. Sheet rock donated by Valley Lumber was hauled up and furniture was moved out of the way by Lynne Johnson, Wayne Jensen, Cliff Stone and Scott Fischer.

The first day of the remodel coincided with the United Way Day of Caring, and eight students from the University of Alaska Southeast helped out. They were supervised by Johnson, UAS director of development and university relations, Lola Savathey, assistant director of development and her husband David, and Lawrence Lee Oldaker, professor emeritus at UAS.

Jane Walters and her daughter Samantha provided sandwiches, cookies, chips and pop one weekend. Walters also provided coupons to McDonald's for food and others provided coupons to Silverbow Bakery. Many others anonymously dropped off doughnuts, coffee, chips and dips which fueled the workers.

Bob Didier and Silverbow Construction volunteered to tape and mud sheetrock, and also loaned ladders, extension poles and painting hardware to Rotary members. Rotary member Tim Allen worked hard mudding many days in a row.

In November, once the sheet rock was in place, volunteers put two coats of primer on walls and ceiling, followed by one coat of finish paint. The paint was discounted to the project by Valley Paint.

Joe Carlson of Alcan Electric and the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Local 1547 contributed over $2,000 to the project and discounted electrical supplies. Jim Collard and ACC finished installing phones and computer cabling, again using discounted materials.

Wayne Jensen of the architectural firm of Jensen Yorba Lott Inc. contributed the design work for the project. "The idea was to creatre some private offices and a better conference area," Jensen said. "And we wanted to maintain natural light in the inner office areas by using shorter walls, which also gave some privacy. Some of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters helped out, and it was an excellent project."

As a historical note, the building that houses McDonald's and the BBBS is the site of the first Juneau Rotary meeting in October 1934, when the main floor housed a restaurant call the Terminal Cafe, said Bill Legere, Internet communications officer with the Rotary. "Things that aren't contributed, the club pays for directly out of dues and fund-raisers."

The Rotary board, which is newly chosen each year, decides on the projects they will undertake, Legere said. "Generally the club tries to pick a project that will involve the talents of many club members and will leave the community with something permanent, like a park - or, as in this case, something that benefits youth," Legere added.

This project would not have been possible, Stone said, without the generous contributions of time, expertise and materials by those anamed above as well as Alaska Communication Systems, Alcan Electric, Haight & McLaughlin and United Way of Southeast Alaska.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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