The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula will be allowed to use 10 classrooms and gymnasiums for youth programs at the Soldotna Prep Building following the authorization of a lease agreement by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at their Tuesday meeting.
The building, which was vacated by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, is still under evaluation for long-term planning. The short-term lease authorized by the assembly will last for the remainder of the school year and then continue on a month-to-month basis.
According to the ordinance, the Boys and Girls Clubs will lease rooms #8-14 and rooms #16-18 at a monthly rate of $2,075. Additionally, the club will be able to rent gymnasiums on an “as available” basis for $100 per month.
Assembly member Richard Derkevorkian said during Wednesday’s meeting that it costs about $225,000 per year to keep the lights and heat on in the building.
“It would be nice to get some revenue coming back in from that school and provide a space for the local Boys and Girls Club that does a lot for the community,” Derkevorkian said.
The legislation was also amended to allow Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce to modify the lease agreement to expand or change the number and location of the classroom spaces leased to the Boys and Girls Clubs for youth services.
“It is not unlikely that as the Boys & Girls Club begins operations that it may have reason to expand into other available classroom spaces or find use for other available areas of the building,” wrote Kenai Peninsula Borough Land Management Officer Marcus Mueller in a memo to the assembly. “Summer programs, for instance, might benefit from additional spaces.”
During a meeting of the borough’s Lands Committee on Wednesday, Pierce said that the borough reached out to an engineering firm who produced a report saying that the building could be completely remodeled for about $20 million, which would turn it into a “50-year asset.” Alternatively, Pierce said that the money could be put towards renovating another school instead.
“If we get to the point where it’s undetermined and we sit and we wonder for the next 10 years, it would be my recommendation to this assembly to tear the [Soldotna Prep] school down,” Pierce said, adding that there needs to be a long-term plan for the building.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.