Voters Pass Bond for New School Roofs, Field for Homer High

     Voters have approved funds for new roofs for a handful of schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and a new turf field for Homer High School. Roughly 57 percent of voters said yes to a proposition on Tuesday’s ballot.

     Kenai Alternative High School, Kenai Middle, Skyview High School and Tustumena Elementary will have their roofs replaced in 2014. The Homer High football field also will be upgraded to artificial turf next year. In 2015, Homer Middle, Kenai Central High School, Paul Banks Elementary and Soldotna Middle School will see new roofs. Soldotna High School and Ninilchik School are the last upgrades on the list. Those will happen in 2016. All these replacements and upgrades will cost around $23 million. 

     Voters approved a 20-year bond ordinance to cover those expenses with the promise of a 70 percent reimbursement from the state. That’s already been approved at the state level. This Phase II of construction will replace roofs that are, in some cases, about 46 years old. That’s well beyond their usefulness. KPBSD officials expect the upgrades to save the district about $286,000 each year in energy costs. 

     The field replacement at Homer High will lower maintenance costs and improve any safety issues for students who use it. The price tag for the new turf field is just shy of $2 million. During a school board meeting in July, Vice President Liz Downing mentioned the current field is big problem.

     “On the Homer High field, my son busted his leg. We went to the emergency room and (he) was on crutches for a couple of weeks. The nurse was sharing that… this is the week for crutches because a number of students from the soccer teams were also on crutches because of the conditions of the field,” she said.

     District officials also have said a new field could mean increased school and community activities, and the upgrade will increase the amount of time it can be used. The new field will be installed next summer.