Ketchikan High School — or Kayhi, as it’s commonly known — urgently needs a new boiler before chilly weather returns in the fall. That’s according to school district maintenance director Al Jacobson.
Jacobson tells Ketchikan’s school board in a memo that two of the school’s three boilers have failed. If the third fails next fall, the high school would be left without heat. And Jacobson says that could have “catastrophic” consequences.
So Jacobson is asking the board to approve a nearly $25,000 sole-source contract with Juneau-based PDC Engineers to design a new heating system. Jacobson tells the board that the engineering firm is already familiar with Kayhi’s boiler system and has worked on it in the past. And Jacobson says gathering three bids as required by board policy would delay the project by at least a month.
The school board will consider the request when it meets remotely Wednesday. It’ll also consider asking Ketchikan’s borough assembly to fund the project — the borough handles projects that cost more than $50,000.
District officials estimate the boiler project will cost just shy of $360,000 in total. Ketchikan’s borough assembly set aside $400,000 for the project in its initial review of next fiscal year’s budget earlier this month. The borough budget is set to come back before the assembly next Monday.
In other business, the school board will be asked to approve a half-dozen teaching contracts and two extended leaves of absence — school district nurse Arizona Jacobs and Kayhi health aide Maggie Willett are taking temporary assignments with the state public health department, according to meeting materials.
And, finally, the board will be asked to approve a request for nearly $600,000 in federal coronavirus relief money. The amount of money given to the district is set by the state. But because the relief funds are structured as a state grant, district officials need school board approval to actually apply for the funds.
School officials will present the results of a student and staff survey starting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The formal Ketchikan School Board meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. and can be accessed at KGBSD.org/live. Comments from residents — and requests to offer live testimony — can be emailed to the school board clerk at Kerry.Watson@K21Schools.org prior to 3 p.m. Wednesday.