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

Panel wants firehall studied


While a recent technical assessment of the public safety building determined the facility is in bad shape, the Haines Borough wants to know precisely how bad.

The Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee voted Dec. 6 to recommend the assembly hire an engineering firm to conduct a more thorough, detailed analysis of the public safety building.

The Anchorage-based architectural firm McCool Carlson and Green recently conducted a surface-level analysis of borough buildings, including the public safety building, but only provided a list of general deficiencies with very rough cost estimates, borough executive assistant Darsie Culbeck said at the meeting.

A follow-up document, which would include specific structural and electrical surveys with more accurate costs in addition to other information, will help the borough decide whether a partial remodel or complete reconstruction of the building is necessary, borough manager Mark Earnest said.

Earnest said it would also help determine whether parts of the building, such as the assembly chambers, are salvageable in the event of total demolition.  

“It sounds like we don’t have the money to have them do a detailed analysis of every deficiency of every building and so maybe this committee wants to recommend that we do a more detailed analysis of this building since it has come to the top of the list,” said committee chair Rob Goldberg.

Public facilities director Carlos Jimenez recently contacted three engineering firms requesting a cost estimate for the desired document. Jimenez contacted PND Engineers, Inc., McCool Carlson and Green, and Carson Dorn, Inc. outlining a scope of services and requesting a cost estimate.

Earnest said he did not issue a request for proposals because it is a “small project,” “the RFP process would cost a couple thousand dollars potentially and a couple of months,” and the companies are also already familiar with borough facilities. Earnest also said the project does not have to go to the assembly for approval if it is less than $10,000.

Of the $75,000 allocated for the first phase of the master plan project, $50,000 has been spent to date, Earnest said. Remaining funds could go toward to the engineering analysis.

Jimenez said the cost estimates are free.

“We haven’t made any deals and no money has been spent nor has any contract been signed,” he said.

Earnest said the issue is time sensitive because the public safety building is included in the borough’s list of legislative priorities for the upcoming year. A sufficient amount of detail is needed when submitting those projects for consideration, he said.

“It’s a very short window to try to do a lot of work. And I’m not sure how much we actually have to have done, but I think we should at least define to the best that we can in the time that we have available,” Earnest said.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend the assembly hire an engineering firm to conduct the analysis.


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