Juneau seeks proposals to fill space in closing schools

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Students exit the Marie Drake building, which houses the Juneau School District’s alternative high school, Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi, and Montessori Borealis, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (Clarise Larson/KTOO)

The Juneau School District’s plan to close schools and consolidate grades means some buildings will sit empty after the end of the school year. But the City and Borough of Juneau is seeking proposals from community organizations to fill that space. 

City Manager Katie Koester said that could mean using it for child care, housing or anything else that might benefit the community. 

“These are public facilities, and it’s quite a bit of square footage that’s available. The Assembly is really curious what public benefit these facilities could bring,” she said. 

The two buildings that will be open for proposals are Floyd Dryden Middle School in the Mendenhall Valley and the Marie Drake building downtown. Since voting to take over those buildings, the Juneau Assembly has openly discussed using one of them as a new home for City Hall.

Koester said that’s still an option, but the Assembly is currently leaning toward moving all City Hall employees to the building that houses the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation instead. 

That plan still needs to be finalized and approved by the Assembly. 

“Those negotiations will take some time. So I don’t consider that like a final decision from the Assembly,” she said. “They definitely are leaning that way. But they also want to see what the other uses could be for Marie Drake and Floyd Dryden.”

Koester said the city will consider factors like how much the proposals for those buildings would cost the city — along with space and parking needs. She says those factors could also inform the Assembly’s decision on where it might move City Hall.

Interested organizations can submit proposals using a form on the city’s website. The deadline is May 20. 

The city will officially take over the buildings on July 1.

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