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Meeting looks at what money can buy for JDHS

Upgrades could include glass entrance, bigger commons area

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2000

A renovated Juneau-Douglas High School could have a new, light-filled entrance, a larger, more open commons area and a kitchen if voters approve a ballot proposition to continue a 1 percent sales tax.

"This is one idea of what we would do with the $4 million to work with," City Architect Catherine Fritz said at an open house Wednesday night at the JDHS library.

The Juneau Assembly intends to spend on JDHS some revenues from a 1 percent sales tax and from financial advantages stemming from selling $7.7 million in other school bonds if voters approve those propositions in October.

Of that, $4 million could go toward renovations at JDHS, and $600,000 could buy a building off Thane Road for school district storage. It would free up the storage space at JDHS for underground parking.

Other tax proceeds would go to expansion of Bartlett Memorial Hospital, construction of an ice rink, and repaying the city's share of bonds to renovate Floyd Dryden Middle School and replace roofs at several other schools.

Architects and city planners Wednesday wanted to give the public some idea of what their money could buy at JDHS. But few parents had time at a busy school open house to stop in for long.

Based on meetings earlier this year with a large planning team of teachers, parents and students, the ideas focus on changes in and around the commons.

The commons is crowded and dark, and food service is limited, planners said. Meanwhile, the administrative offices aren't near the school entrance. Noise from the gym and the commons floats into the auditorium.

One idea is to build a large, tall, glass entryway to bring light to the commons. The rooms at the Egan Drive side of the commons could be removed to add more space, and a kitchen could be placed where the attendance office is now.

The classrooms across from the commons could be turned into two long rooms with glass walls to let in light from the Egan Drive side of the building. They could be used for counseling, student services and student projects.

Administrative offices could go where the counseling office is now. And bathrooms could be placed against the auditorium's wall to buffer sound.

The city also is planning $13 million in renovations that voters approved in October 1999 as part of a $63 million bond project to build a new high school and fix up JDHS. Construction is contingent on getting legislative approval for some state reimbursement of costs.

The $13 million would include upgrades to meet building codes and accessibility requirements. But it also would pay for new paint and carpets in classrooms, new lockers and bathroom stalls, some improvements to the auditorium, new paint or siding on the exterior, and new windows on the Egan Drive side.



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