The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday approved the concept of expanding the borough-owned Senior Center to accommodate the Chilkat Valley Preschool, though members were clear that many details still need to be ironed out.

Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer said she has concerns about the merger, primarily with how the project would financially impact the borough. “There’s still no guarantee this will happen,” she said.

The group voted 5-1 to approve the concept, with assembly member George Campbell opposed.

Acting manager Julie Cozzi said she supported giving the seniors and preschool an opportunity to explore how they could make the merger work. “The concept approval in no way obligates the borough to financially support it or do anything beyond just saying ‘We’re okay with the idea of adding on to the building,’” she said.

Public facilities director Brad Ryan, who has been facilitating discussions between the preschool and seniors, said he was glad to see the assembly embrace the conceptual plan.

“I think the next step will be sitting down with Chilkat Valley Preschool staff and talking with them about a management agreement of the building,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he also wants to get firmer cost estimates for the building addition and how much the expansion would add in utility costs.

The assembly also voted 5-1 to introduce an ordinance that would extend the preschool’s lease in the Human Resources Building pending their move into a new facility. Campbell was opposed.