40 To 50 Students Plan to Attend School in Mertarvik By October
The new village site of Mertarvik is looking to place 40 to 50 students in its temporary school by October of this year. That’s nearly double the earlier estimate of students moving over from Newtok. Last week, Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Dan Walker told the school board that by next fall, as many as 21 homes will have been built at Mertarvik, housing six to eight people in each.
There is still no design for a new permanent school at Mertarvik, but classes will take place at the site's large evacuation center, locally known as “MEC.” At some point, the district plans to put up portable structures to house students.
Walker said that the new Mertarvik school is currently sixth on the state priority list for construction funding. He also said that the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is closing off the site to more contractors this summer, due to safety concerns with the many other projects currently going on there. Walker said that as a potential solution, he is negotiating to get the housing contractor currently working in Mertarvik to draft blueprints for the new school.
LKSD was also able to secure $500,000 for teacher housing from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. The district will continue lobbying to bump up the priority of the Newtok replacement school on the state priority list.