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Superintendent Steve Bradshaw says if the questions pass, Sitka will only have to pay for a fraction of the total cost of the project:
“The state will pay for 65 percent of Pacific High School and will fund 70 percent of the two Blatchley projects,” Bradshaw said. “Another interesting point: I was amazed when I called the state, when we ran into the problems at Blatchley Middle School, we called the state, and we said, ‘Listen, we think we may have to actually double what it’s going to cost us to renovate BMS.’ And they said, ‘OK. If you can get it past your voters, if they’ll pass the bond issue, we’ll give you the extra money.’ So 70 percent of that $5 million dollars, or that $5 million plus, is coming from the State of Alaska.”
Blatchley needs major repairs to its air handling system, as well as to the pool. Improvements throughout the building are covered in the second of the district’s three ballot questions.
Pacific High School, on the other hand, needs major work.
“Right now we’ve got a building that is, let’s face it, pretty shabby,” said Tom Conley, a member of the Sitka School Board. “The roof leaks, it’s a warren of small rooms. It’s not a very functional facility and it’s something we can improve very substantially by going in and doing remodeling. Some of the remodeling we need to do simply for the preservation of the facility.”
It’s been suggested – including by some Assembly members – that Pacific High School move next door into space at the Southeast Alaska Career Center, which is a much newer building.
“The big reason why we’re not moving to that facility is that it simply isn’t large enough,” Conley said. “There’s no way we can fund or run the program in that facility, particularly given the fact that on a year-by-year basis, we have more and more students using Pacific High School as their educational facility, and it just isn’t adequate.”
Pacific is the district’s alternative high school. Bradshaw says community support for improvements there would help an important program, and give the District a chance to develop new ways of teaching high school. Those new methods, Bradshaw says, could eventually be implemented districtwide.
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