Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Klukwan culture center going up


Crews erected walls this week at the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center site in Klukwan, a major step in a project that was first talked about more than 70 years ago. Work started May 13.

Daniel Klanott, a 33-year-old performer with the village dance troupe, said he was surprised by the speed of progress on the building when he returned from a Whitehorse, Y.T. softball tournament early this week.

“I can’t wait for it to be done. It should help bring (cultural items removed from the village) home,” Klanott said.

Project manager Lani Hotch said two-thirds of the building’s cement slab foundation is finished, and completion will wait until laminated beams are erected to create a mezzanine section. The walls that went up this week are in an area to be occupied by a replica clan house, which will hold the Whale House artifacts.

The building will be about 90 by 110 feet with “bump-outs” for the replica clan house and vestibule entry, Hotch said.

Progress on the building is generating excitement, she said. Comments include that the building will be visible from the Haines Highway. “People can see the progression of it. People are starting to believe.”

Hotch said project staff are finishing details of a business plan that will be used to pursue additional funding from private foundations. Existing funding will pay only to complete an insulated shell by November.

Siding and roofing of the building is planned to match the adjacent Hospitality House, a completed dining hall and gift shop that will complement the center.

A six-member crew from Dawson Construction is building the structure. The Portico Group, a Seattle firm, is project architect.

Hotch said due to temperature-sensitivity considerations for artifacts, radiant heat can’t be used on the center. The village plans to use a wood-pellet boiler with an oil-burner backup.