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


Tribal office super heat-efficient


Dozens of residents turned out last week for the opening of the Chilkoot Indian Association’s $2.1 million headquarters.

The day-long open house included a public election to name the building. The winner was Jilkoot Kwaan Kahidi, roughly translated as “Home of the Chilkoot People.” Other candidates were Deishu Hit, meaning “End of Trail House” and Xoots Koowu, meaning “Brown Bear’s Den.”

Tours included the building’s furnace room, where a wood-pellet boiler heats the 5,250-square foot building with a single, $6 bag of wood pellets daily, said tribal president and project foreman John Katzeek.

Foam and fiberglass insulation in the walls and ceiling and triple-pane windows help minimize heat loss. “This thing is airtight. It costs more up front to build, but in the long run, it’s going to save money.”

With in-floor heat embedded in a 1.5-inch cement slab, “Once you warm it up, it doesn’t take much to keep it warm,” Katzeek said.

The building includes a large, bright reception area, conference room and kitchen.

A large parking lot and wheelchair access are among features that make the building more friendly for tribal members than the tribe’s previous office, said administrator Dave Berry. “To help people, we need to be able to see them. The stairs at our old location meant our offices were not accessible to many of our members.”

L.A. Graham, who works as an accounting assistant for the tribe, said employees had a hand in designing the building’s layout. “It flows in terms of use for workers and it’s more inviting for people to come in. It also seems like we’re all getting sick less (since moving into the building in November).”

The building also was designed to be added to, if more space is needed in the future, Graham said. It includes an office leased to Tlingit Haida Social Services.