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

Tlingit Park pavilion construction begins


June 24, 2021

Construction of the new, longhouse-inspired Tlingit Park pavilion began June 19. Design and construction of the project, which comes to roughly $300,000, is funded by a U.S. National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.

“We’re fifty percent excavated and will begin pouring concrete next week,” Chilkat Custom Construction owner Carlos Jimenez said in an interview Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a selection committee chose Chilkat Custom Construction from a pool of two applicants to design and build the project. The selection committee consisted of Haines Borough public works director Ed Coffland, interim manager Alekka Fullerton, assembly members Gabe Thomas and Carol Tuynman, Mayor Douglas Olerud, former Mayor Jan Hill, grants administrator Carolann Wooton and Chilkoot Indian Association (CIA) representative John Wooton.

“The proposal that Chilkat Custom Construction put forward really met the requirements of the committee, which was for it to be a Tlingit (longhouse) theme for the purpose of housing Tlingit art and having Tlingit dances, and also for things like picnics. The committee really liked the design and they were within our budget,” Coffland said in an interview Monday.

Chilkat Custom Construction is partnering with Northwind Architects, which has designed similar structures in Juneau. All labor for the project is locally sourced, according to Jimenez.

The proposal put forward by the two companies highlights design features in keeping with the longhouse theme.

“In the tradition of the longhouse, sections of exterior walls are panels that can be open or closed, addressing use to either a more open gathering place with minimal exterior walls (or) to a place that is sheltered from the environment,” it reads.

The project has been in the works for several years, according to Coffland. The grant application predates his time as public works director.

CIA has been involved with the planning, particularly in the project’s early stages.

“We had requested a longhouse-style pavilion (at Tlingit Park) rather than the one that’s there now,” tribal administrator Harriet Brouillette said.

In conjunction with the pavilion project, the tribe is building a trail from the pavilion to the waterfront. Brouillette said trail construction is scheduled to begin in the next two weeks.

CIA will also monitor the pavilion construction site “because of the sensitivity of the area, if anything is dug up, we’re there to observe,” Brouillette said. The pavilion location is in close proximity to a Tlingit graveyard.

Coffland said pavilion construction is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.


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