The renovation is continuing at a fast and furious pace. We are scheduled to phase into the “new” section of the building in mid-December.

Highlights:

  • Finishing work is moving forward in the newly renovated wing
  • Exterior tile work is underway
  • The concrete floors have been poured on the new addition.
  • New air handling units are being installed and configured

 

2nd Semester Phasing–

  • Lifeskills classroom move to their permanent new classrooms
  • K-2, PE classrooms move to temporary location in the newly renovated intermediate wing
  • Speech & Psychologist move to new rooms
  • Campfire moves to new wing/ sharing space with PE
  • Parent pick-up/ drop off loop extends to entry on 15th and Alder
  • Additional parking opens on north side of building
  • 3-6 grade, Art/Health, Music, ELL, Title VII remain in relos
  • Expect changes to traffic pattern

Here are some pictures of the current work:

The floor of the new library.

The floor of the new library.

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Colored window tiles and original wood ceiling in classrooms.

Colored window tiles and original wood ceiling in classrooms.

Colored window tiles..

Colored window tiles..

Anyone who has been by the school can tell you that things are a little different at the school this summer.

Here is a brief update of what’s been going on and some answers to questions that have come from the neighbor hood.

The renovation work started as soon as the students left the building. In the intermediate wing the crews have been taking out all the old walls and fixtures, removing  asbestos and digging trenches for repair and renew the old plumbing system.

The school yard has seen a lot of work too. You’ll notice that the front lawn has been removed to make way for the new parking and parent drop of driveway. The playground equipment is all dismantled and stored near the hill. The workers had to remove two huge oil tanks that were buried near the school. (When the school first opened these tanks were used to store the fuel that kept the school warm in the winter.) We also have a giant gravel pad on the playground and 10 relo classrooms so that school can go on during the removation.

The gym has been completely stripped of everything except the floors and the stage is gone. (The stage will be turned into temporary offices for the coming school year before being converted to a gym office and storage area.

Questions from the neighborhood

1. When the movers brought the relo classrooms on to the site, they ran over the median on 16th Avenue. Will there be any effort the restore the plants that were flattened by the move?

Anything that is altered or damaged because of the construction will be restored by the time the project is complete in August of 2016. In this case, the relos will be coming out when the project is done, so, anything done to address issues caused by the move will be delayed until they can be permanently addressed. The best case scenario, of course, is that nothing gets damaged in the first place. The crews are taking precautions as work proceeds to minimize impact. Our project supervisor made sure that when the relos went in that as much of the plant life as possible would be protected. You’ll notice that the irises were not damaged at all and a little sapling at the end of the median was spared too.

2. Is there a new plan in place to move the medians on 16th for bus traffic?

There are no plans to change the city roads around the school beyond the initial, approved plan. They construction crew did need to change the entryway onto the Airport Heights site.

3. How many trees have been removed from the site? Will more trees be coming down?

10-12 trees were removed from the playground to make way for the new parking area, walkways, and relo pad. There is a possibility of 1-2 more coming down in the back.

All of the front yard trees are likely to be removed as the new parking and drive-through is right in the path. You can be sure that the final plans do include adding lots of trees and ground foliage to the site.

4. Can neighbors reclaim anything from the renovation like sod, downed birches, dirt, etc?

Aside from the disbursement of materials that are a part of contracts in the renovation process (for example the excavators have first right to the downed trees as a part of their fee structure), the rest of the renovation items are not likely to made available to the public for a coule of reasons. 1. Safety– The entire school site has been turned over to the contractor and they are responsible for the safety of anyone that  comes on the property. They cannot support the supervision that would be needed to maintain a safe work zone and allow the public access to the site to reclaim materials. 2. Timeline— The school is scheduled to be reopened for business in late July. The contractors focus is to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible. Again, they are not equipped with the resource to manage the distribution of salvageable items from the project.

Thank you.

As the project continues, we want to be sure and continue to articulate our gratitude to the neighbors and community of Airport Heights for your concern, patience, and willingness to put up with this project as we work to improve our school.

Let us know if you have more questions. I’ll try and get these updates out every few weeks to keep everyone up to speed with the project.

Here are some pictures of the work at Airport Heights:

Anchorage voter’s will decide whether or not to approve the School Bond on Tuesday.

Here are a couple of media reports about Airport Heights and the Bond:

KTUU Story

Anchorage Daily News Story

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The Airport Heights Community can be proud of the turn out at last night School Board Meeting to support a $22 million renewal of the school. The next step is to seek the approval of the Anchorage Assembly and then the decision is up to Anchorage voters. cropped-DSC_0007.jpg

After delaying the vote a couple of weeks ago, the School Board voted unanimously to approve the ASD Bond Package, including the full renovation of the school. Airport Heights had many community members speak on behalf of the school. The major issues addressed were the need for a safer traffic flow (Sharon Cissna reported that the PTA was addressing this issue 30 years ago!) and the need for adequate upgrades to meet the demands of a 21st century education.

There is still a long way to go in this process. Next, the Anchorage School District will seek the approval of the Anchorage Assembly to include the Bond Proposal on the April ballot. Then the issue will be left to Anchorage voters.

 

The Airport Heights Renovation  and Renewal Plan will be considered at this Monday’s School Board Meeting. The bonding issue was delayed at the last meeting because the School Board needed more information about the project at Airport Heights.

The School Board meets on Monday, October 21, 2013 at the Anchorage School District Education Center.  If you are interested and would like to tell the Board what you think about this plan you can sign up to testify in person or by phone.

Here’s the link–> http://www.asdk12.org/school_board/testify/

Once the School Board has made its decision, the proposal will then need to be considered by the Anchorage Assembly. This is an extremely important decision that will have potential impacts on the community for many years to come.

AHES_Presentation_Site Master Plan

 

One of our neighborhood parents recently started a Facebook thread asking if others were interested in starting an Open Optional Program at Airport Heights.

Here’s what she said, Link Here

Hi Neighbors, I don’t know if this is the correct forum but thought I would try here first. It seems like a lot of parents are attempting to get their children into open optional programs all over Anchorage but especially in Airport Heights. Does anyone know if there has ever been an attempt to get an Open Optional program started at our school, similar to Susitna Optional, a school within a school? If not does any one have any ideas about where to start to advocate for one or start that process? Any input would be great. I would love to keep my kids in the neighborhood for school but don’t think the traditional education model is the best fit for my children’s education. Thanks

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 6.07.32 AMWhat do you think?

We’ve been putting a lot of energy into developing the “Dream Big Academy” as a way to address the wide ranging needs of our students and support our parents’ desire to give children real-life experiences and opportunities to use skills in authentic ways.

Airport Heights is changing. We are currently in the process of designing the school to meet the needs of our community for the next 50 years. (This relates to a potential renovation or new building being built in the near future.) This is a great time to get involved with your local school and let your voice be heard.

This is your school. You can rest assured that our staff has a plan to make Airport Heights a great school. Is it the same plan that our neighborhood has in mind? We hope so. Our PTA has been involved with discussions about the direction that the school is taking from the start. We have been conducting Community Cafes to gather information about the vision of the community and solicit input from local businesses and organizations as well. We are posting examples of our activities, test results and more information for public scrutiny and debate on this website. Please help us make Airport Heights Elementary a model of excellence in education.

Let us know what you think! We are happy (thrilled, ecstatic) to respond to your feedback.

Yesterday, Anchorage Voter’s approved a bond package that includes funding for Airport Heights School. The design project will look at the current facility and make plans to upgrade the building to current educational standards.

Airport Heights will be keeping you informed along the way and will be very interested in feedback from the community on a potential renovation at the school.

From the Anchorage School District:

Anchorage voters pass school bond Proposition 1

The $59 million school bond package, passed at yesterday’s municipal election. The bond package includes funds for building life extension projects; career and technical education improvements, including a new CTE structure at West High School and Romig Middle School; funds to match a state grant for Service High School; and funds for the Girdwood K-8 School design.
“These improvements will impact students all across the district. I want to extend my gratitude to all staff who helped with our informational bond program over the past few months,” said Superintendent Carol Comeau.

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