New School In the Works for Kachemak Selo

     Plans will soon be in the works for a new school for Kachemak-Selo students. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District received a grant to begin designing the building.

     The district received a grant from the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Development totaling $154,000, which will be used to plan and design a new school. Officials applied for the funds last fall. During a presentation at a Rotary Luncheon in Homer last month, Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater mentioned he was unhappy with the current set up.

     "It's actually very embarrassing," he said. "We're leasing a facility that's not very well done ... so we're working hard to get those kids ... a better school situation."

     District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff says shifting and settling of the current buildings has been an ongoing problem. 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 6th through 12th grade building. All are leased from the Village of Kachemak Selo. Erkeneff also mentioned an increase in energy costs as a reason the district is looking to make improvements. Officials have budgeted about $19,500 for next year’s utilities.

     Now that the district has received this grant, Atwater says the next step is getting together with the Borough Assembly. At that point is when what’s known as the Education Specification plan goes into effect.

     Erkeneff compared the plan to a recipe card. The school district and borough will work the community to decide what type of facility should be in place to best suit the students’ needs. The process could take anywhere between one and two years because of fishing schedules. Erkeneff says district officials are anticipating construction costs ranging between 9.6 and 11 million dollars, but that amount is not set in stone.