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Recreation Center for White Cliff Plan
by Tina Peckham


June 18, 2004

I would like to clarify the recommendation made to use the recreation center for White Cliff students. This alternative was a result of the community meeting sponsored by the School Board. I supported this option because it did not recommend closing the recreation center to the public.

In fact we talked about how the racket ball courts, running track, and showers could stay open to the public. The gym schedule would be modified to allow school P.E. depending on the half time P.E. teacher s schedule either 2 or 3 days a week. Only half of the gym would be used and the whole gym could be scheduled for special groups on non P.E. days. Students would be required to use non marking gym shoes or no shoes at all. Other than this school time there would be no change in the gym schedule for public use. There would be No Desk on the gym floor.

The use of the Recreation Center by White Cliff students would require the Parks and Recreation staff to relocate aerobic classes much like what was done prior to the building of the Rec. Center. There is no reason to eliminate those programs. I would suggest that the aerobic classes, child care center and special interest classes could be placed at the High School where district offices now occupy rooms. These rooms are beside the pool and shower facilities. The weight room could be coordinated with the equipment presently at the pool, some equipment might be relocated to the basement of the pool where it was prior to building the Recreation Center.

The changes would affect the fitness rooms at the recreation center in order to allow for classrooms. The children's room and multipurpose/art rooms on the main level could be used as classrooms for kindergarten and first grade. The large fitness, small fitness, weight room and room with a pool table could also be used as classrooms. This would allow for K- 5 classrooms. These rooms would be closed to the public during the months of school use.

The Recreation center is located beside the Tongass School. They have offered to help in any way they can. We thought that shared use of their library, computer lab, playground, large space for assembly and possible bus loading areas could be worked out. Any additional space for the 6th and 7th grades and special education classrooms would be used.

Since the district maintenance department is also located next to the recreation center site, we discussed the possibility of placement of a modular building and additional support staff and parking there.

There would be costs associated with this move:

  • The wood floors in the two fitness rooms would need to be covered. Depending on the flooring under the rubber mats in the weight room that floor may need to be covered as well.
  • District offices would be relocated allowing Parks and Recreation the use of the four high school rooms that are directly down from the pool.
  • There may still be need for a modular building if space cannot be found for the 6th and 7th grades and special education.

There would be benefits:

  • The school district could pay for a portion of the utilities for the Recreation Center.
  • A district custodian could provide additional services at the Recreation Center.
  • District maintenance staff could provide support services to the Recreation Center.
  • Additional storage for Parks and Recreation could be made available at the White Cliff building.
  • The unique location of the Recreation Center beside another elementary school facility and beside district maintenance facilities would allow for coordination to provide needed support during students stay at the Recreation Center.
  • The Recreation Center is a safe facility with adequate restroom facilities for all students including handicapped.
  • There are outside exits to at least three or possibly four of the classrooms minimizing impact to the rest of the facility.

This is not an ideal situation but I believe it is workable. With the loss of White Cliff this community will lose the use of two school facilities this fall. To think that the remaining schools can absorb the students without severe overcrowding and compromises on education is unrealistic. I appreciated that assembly members Tipton, Landis, Bergeron and City Mayor Weinstein participated in the community meeting sponsored by the School Board. This is a community problem. Let s continue working together to find solutions that keep children in safe facilities and allow for the educational support they need.


Tina Peckham
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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