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


Preschool target site shifts to church


The Chilkat Valley Preschool is planning to site its new building on Presbyterian Church property on First Avenue instead of at the Haines School, following an offer by the church.

“We’ve decided to go that route rather than (site it) at the school. From the get-go they were generous and easy to work with. It seemed like an easier path,” said Alissa Henry, chair of the private preschool’s board of directors.

Pastor Ron Horn said the decision to lease property to the school was an easy one for the church’s governing elders. “The church is going to make this happen because it’s necessary. Ministering to the young people of this community is what we do. Anything we can do to support our children from the earliest ages, that’s really what we need to do.”

Henry said the preschool has shifted plans from purchasing a modular building to constructing a traditional structure on a pier foundation. The cost of shipping a modular structure makes local construction of the building competitive, she said.

The planned 2,000-square-foot structure will be located near the Haines Senior Center parking lot and include an outside play area. “We also want to use Tlingit Park,” Henry said.

The estimated cost of the project is $400,000, Henry said.

The school is seeking letters of support for the project before soliciting grant funding from sources including the Rasmuson Foundation, Henry said. A lease agreement between the church and school will be necessary for seeking grant funds.

Preschool officials received a lukewarm response when they approached the Haines Borough school board in February about siting their new school on borough property near the Haines School.

The assembly in March “approved in concept” locating the preschool on the school campus and set an Aug. 1 deadline for technical details of such an arrangement. The preschool must move from its current location in the borough’s aging Human Resources Building by July 2015.