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LKSD Resolving 16 Million Dollar Difference Between Assessments To Rebuild KLA And Ayaprun

Dean Swope

There is a 16 million dollar difference between the insurance company's assessment and the architects and engineers' estimate on how much is needed to rebuild the Bethel schools burned by the Kilbuck fire more than a year ago. The Lower Kuskokwim School Board got the numbers for constructing Ayaprun Elitnaurvik and the Kuskokwim Learning Academy from Superintendent Dan Walker on Friday.

“The insurance company’s estimate is somewhere in the 26 to 27 million [dollar range], and our architect and engineering firm has got an estimate of about 42 to 43 million,” Walker said.

And that's if the school district keeps the cafeteria and armory that are still standing on the site. If they tear those down and rebuild from scratch, the price could be in the 50 millon dollar range.

Walker says the difference between the numbers comes from how the analysis was done. He says that the assessment done by ECI Alaska Architecture, the architect and engineering firm, was more in-depth.

Credit Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK
The Lower Kuskokwim School Board meets December 9, 2016 at the LKSD district office board room.

"In the buildings that are standing, for example," Walker said, "they look at the materials it was made from. They look at all the code requirements and upgrade requirements.”

The school district has given the architect's survey to the insurance company, API Insurance Services. Walker is hoping to receive a response in the next six weeks.

“The clock is ticking. We need to tell the architect, ‘Here’s what we want.' Let’s start that process of talking to both of the schools that were lost there, the stakeholders there, and asking them, 'What is it you want to see in your new school?' so we can start designing that,” Walker said.

The final cost of rebuilding the schools won't be known until the project goes out to bid. Walker hopes that with the current state economy, contractors will be hungry and bids will be competitive.

Also at the LKSD board meeting, Walker said the Bethel Regional High School cafeteria should finish being designed in January, and construction should begin in late summer.

Elsewhere in the district, six schools are being renovated and added to: Quinhagak, Kipnuk, Kwigillingok, Chefornak, Nightmute, and Tuntutuliak. Kwethluk is building its new school, and Napaskiak opened a new school in October.

After the meeting, a couple of board members raised concerns about Bethel's new football program, saying they’re worried it will divert money from other programs. It was left unresolved whether the issue will be brought up in a future board meeting.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.