History of Mt. Eccles
Mt. Eccles is an elementary school that is rich with history and tradition. Its central location allows for many of its students to walk to school as well as back home at the end of the day
Mt. Eccles is one of the oldest schools in Alaska, being built in 1954. It was designed by an architect located in Washington DC, one that never placed foot in Cordova. It was opened in 1955 with original size of 22,355 sq ft. 5 classrooms were added in 1963 bringing the school size to 36,425 square feet.
Major repairs took place in 1991 and included new ventilation, windows, and upgrades to the mechanical/electrical systems. An elevator was added in 2001 along with handicapped ramps.
The needs of Mt. Eccles range from immediate removal of asbestos floor tile (lunchroom/storeage areas) and asbestos pipe insulation (main hall) to roofing replacement and insulation upgrade (both roof and walls). Although the building has been certified as structurally safe, current code requires the placement of internal cross bracing for earthquake defense. Installation of mechanical controls will allow for optimum energy efficiency. This renovation will extend the life of Mt. Eccles easily 25-35 years.
The scheduled gymnasium will access existing systems (heating/electrical/plumbing) allowing for maximum efficiency. The gym will be located directly behind the school next to Adam’s street. It would require the city to purchase the Carroll home adjacent to the existing property. The Carroll family is in support of selling the property at fair market value.
The renovation will take place over the next 3 years. Since the entire school will be impacted, the gym will be completed first. Once the gym is completed, it will house “several classrooms” at a time while that portion of the building is being renovated. This will allow for non-stop construction to take place.
Due to scheduled decline of student population (K-12) the district office would move into a wing of the Mt. Eccles School. This would make efficient use of the Mt. Eccles school as well as allow the district to discontinue use of one of the existing temporary relocatable buildings currently being used (located behind the high school).
One of the biggest challenges faced with this project is for the public to realize that this renovation is scheduled to meet the basic needs of our community’s children. Since Mt. Eccles was built, much has changed in the educational world. Getting accurate/consistent information to the public is a priority concern of the city council as well as the school board.
The renovation will take place over the next 3 years. Since the entire school will be impacted relocation of the students is a priority concern. Once the gym is completed, it will house “several classrooms” at a time while that portion of the building is being renovated. This will allow for non-stop construction to take place.
This renovation will be considered as 2 different projects from the state’s perspective. The cost of the gym will be reimbursed at 60%, and the cost of the renovation will be reimbursed at 70%. This debt reimbursement is available from the state due to the past legislation that moved the “sunset” date from November, 2008 forward to November 2010. This is especially important to this project, as without support from the state this project simply could not successfully move forward.