November 15, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 46

Klukwan museum plans advance

The shell of the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center may be up by next October.

Lani Hotch, executive director of the project, told a crowd at a fund-raising dinner Saturday that the project would be done in a phased approach, possibly eliminating a riverside boardwalk and plaza area and other extras.

“We’ll move ahead with construction with the money at hand,” Hotch said. As the cost of the project increases with inflation, it makes sense to move ahead, she said.

“If we decided to hold off until we had all the money in hand, what’s going to happen is the cost is going to go up another 10 percent every year. We’re going to go ahead with what we have and continue to raise funds for the rest,” Hotch said.

A revised project price tag is $6.3 million, excluding the boardwalk and other extras. “It’s still costly, but not as much as we were thinking. I’m encouraged by those figures,” Hotch said.

Money that would cover the project’s $3.5 million first phase – roughing in the building and starting plumbing, mechanical and electrical work – was secured from the Alaska Legislature in 2011, Hotch said.

“We can get it roughed in with what we have. If all goes well, we’ll be able to break ground in April and have the footings in by May,” Hotch said this week.

The $2.9 million second phase of work would include insulation, drywall, floor coverings, and restrooms. Extras included in that figure are the boardwalk, plaza, landscaping, spotting scopes, a fire pit and picnic benches.

If the project secures full funding, “extra” elements may stay, she said.

Hotch told the dinner crowd that the boardwalk might add maintenance costs as it would require snow shoveling in winter months. A gravel pad could be more easily cleared, she said.

The original project price – including construction of the “Hospitality House” — was $9 million, a figure that included interior displays.

The village is seeking a $25,000 Rasmuson Foundation grant to help prepare applications to prospective private sources, Hotch said. That would also update the project’s business plan and do a feasibility study, she said.

The project recently received a $50,000 Institute of Museums and Library Services to pay for exhibit planning, Hotch said. “Things are moving along.”

Saturday’s dinner raised about $10,000, she said.