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School playground funds may be up for Oct. 7 ballot consideration

Covered area would cost property owners $2 per $100,000 annually

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Voters in Juneau might be asked to consider funding part of a $1.6 million middle school playground during the Oct. 7 municipal election.

The Assembly introduced the idea Monday night, and a public hearing is scheduled for its next meeting on Aug. 25.

The playground project at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School would qualify for a 70 percent state reimbursement under Alaska's School Construction Bond Debt Reimbursement Program. If the state fully funds the program, the total debt for local taxpayers would be $65,0000.

If approved, the city would issue general obligation bonds to build the project, and taxpayers would pay them back over a 10-year period.

The cost to a property owner would be $2 per year for every $100,000 in assessed value.

The project proposes a 60-foot by 100-foot covered play area on school grounds with translucent roofing, a concrete slab and lighting.

It would provide space for two basketball courts and also be used during the school day by teachers who said they would like to conduct class outside, said Tracy Kubley, a past Parent-Teacher Organization president at the school.

She said Dzantik'i Heeni is the only school in the district without an outside basketball court.

"It's so important for kids to get outside and play," she said. "This is a basketball kind of town, and it sure wouldn't hurt to have another facility like this."

The question would be the only issue on the ballot, City Manager Rod Swope said.

Voters also will fill three Assembly seats and two School Board seats on Oct. 7.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or e-mail kim.marquis@juneauempire.com.



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