School district may seek bonds for maintenance

Voters may be asked to vote for $28.52 million in the fall city election

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2004

Voters in the fall city election may be asked to approve up to $28.52 million in bonds to cover deferred major maintenance at Juneau schools.

Bonds approved by Dec. 31 would be eligible for 70 percent reimbursement from the state, Department of Education officials said.

The work would include improved accessibility for the disabled at the middle schools and high schools.

The work at the grade schools includes installing new siding, windows, ceilings and floor coverings; painting walls; and replacing light fixtures. Harborview Elementary and the central office would get new roofs.

Projects include $10.93 million for secondary schools; $5.1 million at the Marie Drake building; $3.4 million at Harborview; $3.3 million at Glacier Valley Elementary; $2.4 million at Gastineau Elementary; $2.8 million at Auke Bay Elementary; and $518,000 at the district's central office.

Thirty-five percent of the budget is for design, permits, administering the work, and the city's overhead.

Ted Wilson, principal at Glacier Valley Elementary, said the school's carpeting, not replaced since the mid-1980s, is starting to form bubbles where it is detaching from the floor. Broken windows have been replaced with plastic that yellows and gets scratched, he said.

Last year the school district replaced the light ballasts in Glacier Valley's halls, the sort of improvement that other light fixtures would get under the proposed work.

"It did wonders for the hallways, so they were talking about doing the same thing for the classrooms. Not only are they more energy-efficient and brighter, but they're a lot quieter," Wilson said of the new ballasts. Children can be distracted by the hum of fluorescent lights, he said.

The Juneau School Board's Facilities Committee, meeting Tuesday, asked Superintendent Peggy Cowan to rank the proposed projects in order of priority.

"The city and borough asked us to identify needs," said committee chairman Bob Van Slyke. "Just in the event they don't want to go with everything, we put them in priority of greatest need so they can work down the list."

The committee will review the projects again before submitting them to the full School Board for approval, probably in June, Van Slyke said. The package then would go to the Juneau Assembly for consideration.

• Eric Fry can be reached at

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