Kachemak Selo school site gets board approval

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education approved a site for a proposed new Kachemak Selo School at its June 30 meeting.

The board’s choice was one of two sites being considered for a new facility to replace the three separate buildings currently being used.

“The recommended site is located within walking distance from village homes,” the school site selection committee said in a memo to the board, with copies to Superintendent Steve Atwater and KPB Mayor Mike Navarre.

The site overlooks the village, with views of Kachemak Bay and Dixon Glacier. It is currently in private ownership and used as hay land. 

A nearby spring water source provides water for the community. Single-phase electricity is the only available utility.

“Community representatives indicate support for this site being available for school purposes and borough ownership,” the committee said in its memo.

The site shows advantages for construction costs and proximity to students, but shows modest advantages to the alternative site in land use and maintenance and operation costs.

Selecting a site will improve the chances of receiving grant funding for the estimated $16-million project, board member Tim Navarre said.

With two absent board members, the body approved the site by a 5-2 vote.

The three buildings currently used are in poor condition, have health and safety compliance issues, maintenance and structural issues and poor energy efficiency, according to the district’s Kachemak Selo School Education Specification document. 

In 2014, Kachemak Selo had a student enrollment of 61. The $16-million cost is based on the largest building size estimation at 18,599 square feet.

The School Site Selection Committee is composed of representatives from the KPB Assembly and Planning Commission, as well as the Local Parent Advisory Committee.

Also on the committee are staff representatives from the borough’s Capital Project Division and Planning Department, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Planning and Operations.