White Cliff Center Project
-- Why White Cliff?
By James A. Van Altvorst
September 15, 2006
Suggestions that the Borough should destroy or sell White Cliff
often cite worries about uncontrollable costs. Remodel projects
carry certain risks; however, one can easily find many examples
of successful remodeling projects. Juneau's Capital School renovation,
a project similar in size and complexity, is just one. Clearly,
risks inherent in renovation are manageable.
Also, we must be cautious about assumptions that new buildings
are free of errors or troubles. Design or specifications may
not be quite right in spite of due diligence; construction can
be less than perfect. In the end, new buildings rarely meet all
Finally, we must recognize the fact that White Cliff is an existing
and valuable community asset uniquely adaptable and suitably
located to successfully serve as a combined center for senior
and arts programs. With its rich heritage and deep connections
to this community, it is a treasure worth keeping. Older structures,
like White Cliff, hold and reflect our history. They are important
because their very presence helps us remember our past and understand
who we are today. We can ill-afford to demolish White Cliff -
it is a precious link between our past and our future.
To help ensure a successful project, the White Cliff Center Steering
Committee contracted with architects and engineers experienced
in historic structures to thoroughly evaluate White Cliff School.
They concluded that White Cliff is sound and a good candidate
for renovation. Through many meetings with potential users, they
determined that White Cliff is well-suited for the community's
senior services and arts programs. They carefully and conservatively
evaluated the costs of renovation, including contingencies appropriate
for a renovation project, and of long term maintenance and operation,
concluding that these costs are comparable to new construction.
Based upon all the work done to date, the proposed White Cliff
Center renovation project appears feasible and practical. Renovating
the White Cliff School will be a sound investment - a way to
cherish our heritage and build a community for our future. Please
vote "yes" on Ballot Propositions 1 and 2 on October
James A. Van Altvorst
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: "Thirty-plus year resident of Ketchikan. At-large
member of the White Cliff Center Steering Committee."
On the Web:
Proposition 1 - Sales Tax Increase:
For the full text of Ordinance No. 1403 click here
Proposition 2 - Bonds: For
the full text of Ordinance No. 1404 click here
White Cliff Project
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