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

Investing in Mosquito Lake School


The idea of the Haines Borough selling the Mosquito Lake Community Center may be off the table for at least three years following a March 7 recommendation by the Haines Government Affairs and Services Committee to renovate the building’s air-handling system.

The committee also recommended the center’s board take on an advisory role to the borough, similar to that of the Chilkat Center board.

The borough, under several administrations since 2014 when the Mosquito Lake school closed, once considered selling the land and building to unload expenses.

Center board member Greg Rasmussen said the building is only used about once or twice a month for square dances or other small events, but both the board and borough have been exploring ways for local organizations to rent the space.

Borough expenses to keep the building heated and maintained year-round are upwards of $29,000, said Krista Kielsmeier, executive assistant to the manager standing in at the meeting for interim borough manager Brad Ryan.

Center board members said the facility only makes a fraction of that amount in revenue, about $6,000 per year, from renting out garage storage space.

To eliminate cost in the long-run, Ryan suggested making a $16,000 investment in a new air-handling system for the building that would allow heat to be turned off during warmer months. It would take three years to recoup the investment, Kielsmeier said.

Committee member Heather Lende was in favor of the borough keeping the building, as it is one of the only properties the borough owns up Haines Highway. She said the thought of selling the center “just seems nuts.”

“I don’t know that we’ve really been given a fair shot,” said center board member Dana Hallett.

Some thought the building could open as a school again in the future.

“It’s a golden goose,” said center board member Terry Basford. “You’re going to need a school up there. That mine is going to open. That’s my prediction.”

Committee member Tresham Gregg said the three-year timeline might motivate the center board to find more uses for the building.

Lende, Gregg and committee chair Ron Jackson agreed to recommend to the manager to move forward with the air handler project, appoint an advisory board and make a commitment to take selling the building “off the table” for the three years it will take to recoup the $16,000 investment.


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