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Borough's facility report complete: Now what?

 


The final version of a $33,500 report detailing the conditions of Haines Borough public facilities is complete, but how that document will be used to make decisions about borough buildings is still up in the air.

The Haines 2015 Facility Planning Report, prepared by Anchorage-based architectural firm McCool Carlson Green, is being reviewed by members of the Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee and will be discussed during its April 22 meeting. Architect Jason Gamache presented a draft version of the document to the committee in December.

The final version of the report includes an analysis of the senior center, which was not complete at the time of Gamache’s presentation. According to the report, the senior center is in “good” condition and is “satisfactory” in terms of supporting the programs it houses.

Gamache combined all of McCool Carlson Green’s information – including the condition assessment, appraisal rank, energy use index (which gauges efficiency) – with results from Lenise Henderson Fontenot’s needs assessment survey – including how the public ranked program and building importance – to come up with a “master” score or capital improvement rank (CIR).

The top three “priority” projects, according to the ranking, are the public safety building, senior center, and Chilkat Center.

Gamache noted the senior center edged the pool and administration building (which were tied for third on the draft report) out of the top priorities because it received a high public score and low energy efficiency. However, a new wood pellet boiler has since been installed at the senior center.

“Assuming an improvement in energy performance with the new boiler, this would fall lower in the overall ratings and the pool (recreation) would rise to the third spot,” Gamache wrote.

Gamache suggested the borough pursue two approaches to dealing with its facilities. One concerns several programs sharing the same building (whether that building be new or existing), and the other recommends investing in “corrective solutions with greater potential for savings over an increased period of time.” The latter would mean spending money now to make buildings more energy efficient, for example, to save money later.

Executive assistant to the manager Darsie Culbeck said the steering committee will discuss what to do with Gamache’s recommendations 6 p.m. Monday.

“All the data is in; everything they wanted to have in there is in there now. (Gamache) has come up with his conclusions, action items. Now the group has to talk about it and say, ‘Well, do we agree with what he’s come up with? Are we going to follow these action items?’” Culbeck said.

Whether the committee should even make recommendations based on the report is still unclear, Culbeck said, as the committee was originally formed to ensure the plan was completed.

“They were tasked with creating this plan, so now that the plan is done, what do you do with it? (That’s the) million dollar question,” Culbeck said.

Dave Berry, who sits on the committee as a Chilkoot Indian Association representative, said he was unsure about the future of the committee or its continuing role. “I don’t know if it’s going to be disbanded or not... If we accomplished our project, logic would say that it might,” Berry said.

Committee member Ron Jackson said he is still sifting through all the data in the report and doesn’t know how the committee will move forward, but said the group is probably the best informed to make recommendations about the facilities.

“I don’t think the committee’s work is over just because the report is done... If we don’t create a vision of Haines’ buildings’ futures out of this, who will?” Jackson said.

To spend nearly $34,000 on a plan to let it just sit around and gather dust is out of the question, he said. “For us not to do something, that would be kind of remiss,” Jackson said.

One benefit of having the completed plan is it can be used to apply for grant funding for public facilities projects, Culbeck said.

 
 
 
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