Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget as introduced on December 15 provides funding for the demolition and reconstruction of the William N. Miller K-12 Memorial School in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. The project is ranked as the top priority on the Department of Education and Early Development’s FY2023 Capital Improvement Projects School Construction Grant Fund List.
The current facilities were built between 1973 and 1984. Erosion has resulted in the shoreline of the Kuskokwim River advancing several hundred feet, resulting in the loss of property. The part of the school building closest to the river is now within 30 feet of the river’s edge and the bank continues to erode at a rapid pace.
The total cost to replace the school is $56 million. The Governor’s proposed budget fully funds the State Share of $54.9 million with $22.1 million from Unrestricted General Funds and $32.8 million from the Regional Educational Attendance Area (REAA) and Small Municipal School District School Fund. The legislature previously appropriated $3.1 million for the demolition of the school last session.
The project includes the design and construction of a new school facility that is approximately 23,000 square feet. Existing facilities will be remediated and demolished or relocated if practicable. The location of the new building is currently owned by the Napakiak Corporation and is in the process of being deeded to the City of Napakiak.
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development provides information, resources, and leadership to support over 130,000 students in 505 public schools across the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to ensure an “Excellent Education for Every Student Every Day.”