By Sara Lawson
September 13, 2006
White Cliff School has a place in Ketchikan's history. We now have a choice: we can rehabilitate it, or we can demolish it. Either way, we will spend money on it (demolition is estimated at $3.9 million). If we restore White Cliff, this great old building will be a vibrant gathering place for people of all ages: seniors attending meals and crossing paths with young dancers, generations of families viewing accessible gallery exhibits, and expanded senior activities and arts programs that engage people from across the community. There are over 1300 seniors here, and thousands of households that are involved in dance, theatre, music, and the arts - you can't go far without running into someone who will directly benefit from the success of this project.
Even if you aren't involved, you will benefit: your grandmother, your kid's teacher, your customers, your doctor, your retired father, or your firefighter may be involved, and these programs are part of why they choose to and are able to stay "on the rock"! This project will serve the community year-round, and it will support economic development by attracting visitors and new residents, and keeping retirees and employees in Ketchikan.
The White Cliff Steering Committee has spent thousands of hours researching this project. In that process, we have seen many successful examples of reclaimed historic buildings around the state and country. Most notable is the Capital School project in Juneau - same era construction, same architect - a project that was done on schedule and within budget. With architects, engineers, and professional cost estimators, we have conducted a thorough review of the building condition, developed cost estimates, and planned for parking and accessibility. We have also researched how other communities fund facilities. We found that local communities invest in local projects to make them happen. A small dedicated tax - like the one this community approved for the Rec Center - is a common funding method, and it demonstrates a strong local commitment that attracts outside grants.
Please take the time to find out more. Talk to project volunteers, read the Conceptual Plan, and ask questions. This is a community project - your friends and neighbors have dedicated countless hours to thinking this project through, and are happy to tell you all about it!
On the Web:
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.