Major Upgrades Planned for Peninsula Schools

Ariel Van Cleave
An artificial turf field is due to be installed
at Homer High School this year.
Aaron Selbig photo

     The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has a plan in place for its capital projects over the next six years. The school board approved the timeline during its meeting earlier this month.

     The big ticket item for 2015 is a new school for Kachemak Selo. The district has been doing design work for the new facility since it received a grant totaling $154,000. The funds came from the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Development. Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater has said the current school is not acceptable.

     The facilities are in two separate locations and in three buildings; one for kindergarten and pre-school, another for grades 2 through 5 and the third building houses the 6th through 12th graders. The district leases the school from the Village of Kachemak Selo. District officials have been meeting with school maintenance crews, staff, community members and students to make sure the new building fits their needs. KPBSD is estimating the costs for a new school to be in the neighborhood of $16 million. 

     There’s about $7.5 million in estimated costs for asbestos removal and an office remodel for Kenai Middle School. And Homer High School will get a new roof next year that will cost around $5.6 million.

     By 2016, the projects have smaller price tags and have more to do with upkeep and upgrades like window replacements at Paul Banks Elementary and a new propane storage tank for Nanwalek. It’s more of the same for 2017, but in 2018 the district expects a revamping of the parking lot at Paul Banks to cost about $800,000. 

     Ninilchik, Seward and Skyview are expected to get new tracks five years from now. Those will likely cost a combined total of $4 million. In 2020, the district will begin phase III of its roof replacement project. Officials are estimating a price tag of around $16.4 million for that phase.

     The phase II roof replacement will get underway this year. Tustemena Elementary, Skyview and Kenai Elementary will have new roofs by the end of 2014. Next year, Homer Middle, Soldotna Middle, Paul Banks Elementary and Kenai Central High will have replacements. The remaining school roofs at Kenai Middle, Ninilchik School and Soldotna High will be replaced in 2016. 

     This phase is funded through a bond that was approved by voters in October. The costs for construction total $21.8 million and also include installing a new turf field at Homer High School.