Teachers suggest shuffling Harborview space

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Two plans for the future of elementary school programs housed in the Marie Drake building were offered during a public forum Tuesday evening, but many questions remain to be addressed.

Many programs in the Marie Drake building, between Harborview Elementary School and Juneau-Douglas High School, are affiliated with the grade school. But the high school needs nearly all the space while JDHS is renovated, starting this summer. Harborview's library will be the only non-high school tenant to remain in Marie Drake during construction, school district officials have said.

Both proposals looked at ways to reorganize the Harborview building, which includes some school district offices in the basement, to accommodate the dislocated programs.

Harborview teachers submitted a plan they said was designed to keep as many student programs onsite as possible. Their plan would move most district offices out of the Harborview building.

"Harborview, for decades and decades, used much of the space in the basement but due to (building code revisions) could no longer use it for children," said teacher Chris Trostel, who presented the plan. "As a group, we felt quite strongly that as much of that space as possible should be reclaimed for children."

The plan would place the school district's Montessori program, now housed in Marie Drake, in the Harborview basement. Revised building codes now allow that.

In addition, the teachers' plan would close off the Harborview gym stage for offices or storage, move the Marie Drake preschool into a first-floor classroom at Harborview and place the Marie Drake-housed computer lab and music room in the Harborview basement.

The other plan, presented by Harborview Principal Bob Dye, differed somewhat. It would give Montessori half of the district office space and keep most district offices at Harborview.

It also would divide two second-floor classrooms at Harborview into four smaller rooms for gifted-talented, special education and other programs. And the plan considered splitting the Marie Drake preschool program between Harborview and Gastineau elementary schools.

Under both plans, programs or offices moved from Harborview would be absorbed by other schools in the district. Some audience members raised concerns about moving district offices out of their central location.

District Facilities Manager Joe Mueller said either plan - or a hybrid of the two - would be physically feasible.

Superintendent Gary Bader said he will weigh the information gathered Tuesday and make a recommendation to the School Board's Facilities Committee at its meeting Nov. 20. The full school board will make the final decision.

Andrew Krueger can be reached at akrueger@juneauempire.com.

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