In a 6-1 vote, the Kodiak Island Borough assembly approved a $62,257,750 million construction contract with Watterson Construction of Anchorage to complete the Kodiak High School expansion and renovation project. The contract approved by the assembly includes a new music room and paving of one parking lot along Mill Bay Road. Both items were among 11 optional add-ons not included in the base cost of the high school project.
After lengthy debate, the assembly voted 4-3 against including any of the nine other add-ons to the project. Those included an indoor running track, larger fuel oil tank, additional parking lot paving, exterior insulation and heated sidewalks.
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin was the most vocal proponent of including more add-ons. Citing the state's 70 percent reimbursement of project costs, he said the borough will never get a better chance to have someone else pay for things the borough will, sooner or later, have to pay for. "I don't think we're ever going to see a 70 percent reimbursement (again)," he said.
His argument was countered by assembly members concerned about repeated cost overruns in Kodiak government projects. "I'm not sure we are being truly realistic about this project," assemblyman Mel Stephens said. "We need to be particularly conservative with this."
Including design, construction, support and equipment, the total project cost is $80.4 million. When interest on government bonds is considered, that cost rises to $98 million. The state will reimburse the borough $68.6 million, leaving the Kodiak Island Borough on the hook for $29.4 million. Spread out over 20 years, the borough will pay $1.47 million per year.
In other business, the assembly approved the second reading of a budget ordinance accepting grants to pay for the borough landfill expansion and the borough-owned long-term care facility now under construction next to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center.
The assembly also
* named Akhiok School Stephanie Brenteson its student of the month for April;
* proclaimed April child abuse prevention month;
* proclaimed April sexual assault awareness month;
* appointed Emil Christiansen to the Kodiak seat on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council;
* and appointed Bill Kersch to a city seat on the city-borough planning and zoning commission.
The borough assembly next meets April 9 for a joint work session with the city council.