Story last updated at 10:35 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Razdolna wants new school

Morris News Service

A rapidly growing student population has put the Village of Razdolna in dire need of a new school building, and residents there say they're willing to build it themselves.

Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved a resolution in support of the village corporation's efforts to secure grants to construct a facility that meets modern codes for schools.

The current school, built by residents a quarter-century ago, had an expected 30-year useful lifespan.

But codes have changed since then, and the building doesn't meet today's requirements. For instance, it has a maximum allowable capacity of 50 people at any one time, but often sees more.

In an April letter seeking support from the city of Homer that was included in the assembly's meeting packet, Gavriil Basargin, secretary and treasurer of Village of Razdolna Inc., said there were 40 students and six staff members currently there on any given day. On many days as many as five district support staffers are also in the building.

"Next year we have 10 kindergarten students coming in and no students graduating," Basargin said.

"This could give us over 60 people in this building every day next year and doesn't count having guests or parents in the building."

Razdolna is a growing community, he added.

"Many young couples have recently built houses here and most families have between six and 16 children," he said, adding that the student population could grow to 76 in three years.

The village intends to construct a 2,500-square-foot, two-room school building using village contractors, skilled labor and equipment.

Each family has already committed $500 to the project, but between $300,000 and $350,000 will be needed to complete the new school.

Resolution 2008-047, passed unanimously, will assist the village in securing financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other potential funding agencies.

The city of Homer also has supported the fund-raising effort with its own resolution.

Hal Spence is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.

In other business, the assembly approved Resolution 2008-050, authorizing Mayor John Williams to sign an agreement on behalf of Kachemak Emergency Service Area (KESA) with the city of Homer to provide fire and emergency medical services.

KESA and the city recently negotiated a new agreement that provides for a gradual transition from having the city be the sole service provider to KESA eventually assuming full responsibility for services within the service area. The new two-year pact, which will be retroactively effective as of Jan. 1, 2008, requires a service area annual payment to the city of $214,332.

KESA has been acquiring equipment and building facilities in anticipation of providing full services to the service area. Both KESA and the city, however, anticipate entering into future mutual-aid agreements.