Bond would pay to patch schools

Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2000

A vote Tuesday for school bonds could disappoint some crows, but it would remove the water buckets from classrooms, take the cracks out of gym floors and move Floyd Dryden Middle School out of the 1970s.

Ballot Proposition 3 asks voters to approve $7.7 million in bonds, carrying an estimated $2.8 million in interest, for a package of school renovations, including some new roofs impervious to pecking birds.

The state has agreed to reimburse the city for 70 percent of the bonds' principal and interest. Those state payments would have to be appropriated by the Legislature annually.

If voters also approve Proposition 2, for a five-year 1 percent sales tax, some of those revenues would pay for the city's share of the bonds, the Juneau Assembly has said. Otherwise, the bonds will cost property taxpayers an estimated $14 per $100,000 of assessed property a year for 10 years.

Much of the bonds' principal about $5.4 million would be spent to spruce up Floyd Dryden Middle School, built in 1972 and looking shabby.

The upgrades will add another 25 years of useful life to the school's interior and exterior, said school district facilities manager Joe Mueller.

The school district would paint part of the exterior and interior. It also would replace windows, lockers, exterior and interior doors, the roof, toilet partitions and plumbing, lights, and worn carpets, flooring and ceramic tile.

Dryden would get new public address and fire alarm systems, and a new underground fuel storage tank and standby generator.

The gym floor, which was laid down in sections of a rubber-like material that are separating, would be replaced. Mueller pointed to cracks in the gym floor at a recent interview. In some places tape covers a tear, and the floor covering has become unglued from its base. The new floor, which also will be a rubber-like material, will be poured out of a bucket and left to harden, so it's seamless.

Some improvements will make Floyd Dryden look better, others are to replace failing material, and some are to meet current building and safety codes. "That's what's driving some of these ancillary items," Mueller said.

Parents and students at Dryden have wanted the renovations for years. Some teachers attended the school as students, and it looks the same now as then, said Bruce Garrison, a parent and former president of the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

"It is the only school that has had no renovation done to it since it was built. It's not a friendly building when you compare it to even Dzantik'i Heeni (Middle School)," he said.

Proceeds from the school bonds also will pay to replace the roof at Auke Bay Elementary, the Marie Drake building used by Harborview Elementary and Juneau-Douglas High School and over the Harborview Elementary gym.

The city will replace the floor of the JDHS auxiliary gym and install heating coils in the ventilation system in the JDHS vocational education area, where the current heat pipes in the floor don't work. And it will replace a similar floor-heating system, installed in 1965, in one wing of Gastineau Elementary before the system fails.

The school district's capital plan describes the Auke Bay Elementary roof as an emergency, based on the amount of rotting found by architects in a 1997 survey. Since then the school district has replaced part of the eaves and maintenance workers keep the roof clear of heavy snow loads, Mueller said.

A new roof was installed in 1979 and re-coated in 1989, according to the architects' report. But "almost every year we have a series of leaks," said Principal Dave Newton.

The school district intends to use a thicker and stronger roof asphalt material on Auke Bay and the Harborview gym. It also will provide more protection from birds.

Ravens and crows take their crustacean prey to roofs and "work them," Mueller said. "After a while, they're bored, and they look at little things to peck at, and they eat little holes in the roof."

School board President Stan Ridgeway said he hasn't heard any opposition to the bond itself, although some voters oppose the 1 percent sales tax that is one way of paying for it.

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