School bond proposal includes millions of dollars for Mountain View

By Kirsten Swann

If lawmakers and local voters say yes, Mountain View Elementary School is in line for millions of dollars in much-needed renovations and building upgrades.

The original part of the elementary school opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Principal Chris Woodward said a capital bond package approved by the Anchorage School Board this fall would pay to replace aging plumbing, upgrade security, repair parts of the roof and complete other long-awaited fixes.

Because the school was built in phases over several decades, Woodward said, it faces a number of mechanical issues. In many cases, outdated electrical systems and plumbing fixtures were left in place after being decommissioned.

“You poke your head up into the ceiling up here, and there’s wires and pipes, and it can be challenging for them to figure out where the thing that’s broken is broken,” he said. “They do maintain it, they do a great job, but it is difficult. Every time they come to fix something, it takes more time and energy than it really should.”

The total bond package — which includes capital improvement plans for three other Anchorage elementary schools — comes in at more than $59 million. Around $13.5 million of that would go toward Mountain View Elementary, the school district estimated.

Woodward said the money would pay to soundproof the school, which sits in the window-rattling path of thundering military jets from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. It would also pay for structural improvements necessary to bring the single-story building up to code.

“It’s a safe building, but whether it would still be usable after a major earthquake is questionable,” he said.

School board member Kathleen Plunkett encouraged support for the bond measure at a Mountain View Community Council meeting Monday night.

“It’s just for building-life extension, plus the stage,” Plunkett said. “If  any of you have been at Mountain View [Elementary], you know that that stage area needs some work.”

The stage in the school’s multipurpose room stands more than three feet off the ground, and Woodward said it would need a mechanical lift to come into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. By lowering the stage, he said, the school would be able to build a ramp instead of a lift.

Other proposed improvements include a new music room, a revamped entryway that opens directly into the school office and a waiting area for buses out front.

The school bond package is scheduled for introduction at the Oct. 21 Assembly meeting. If approved by the Assembly, the issue would go up for a vote during the April 7 municipal election. The entire $59 million bond package would increase annual property taxes by up to $14 per $100,000 of assessed value, according to ASD.




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