The Chilkat Valley Preschool board has decided on a new home for the program about a year after the Haines Borough Assembly told them they would need to leave their current location.
The preschool board hopes to buy and renovate a building owned by Sue Foletti on Willard St. that used to house Lynn Canal Counseling.
They decided on that option instead of constructing a new building because it is less expensive and has a shorter timeline. Time and money are two things the preschool is short on.
The preschool has been in a borough-owned building on First Avenue for about 40 years.
In January, the Borough Assembly decided to end the preschool’s lease because the building is too decrepit to maintain. They gave the preschool six months to leave, and later extended the deadline to June 30th, 2015.
Preschool office manager Renee Hoffman is one of the people who led the search for a new facility. She says the preschool plans to ask the borough for another lease extension – until the end of December 2015.
Once the preschool submits a request to the borough, clerk Julie Cozzi says the manager and other borough staff would make a recommendation to the assembly. Then the assembly would discuss and vote on the lease extension request over the course of three meetings, with room for public comment.
In November, Borough Manager Dave Sosa told KHNS that the preschool would need a “firm plan” in place before the borough made a decision about whether to extend their lease.
Hoffman estimates buying and renovating the Foletti building will cost between $250,000 and $275,000. So far, the preschool has raised about $61,000. They hope to raise $140,000 as quickly as possible in order to apply for grants from multiple organizations, including the Rasmuson Foundation.
Hoffman says they hope to have the new facility ready by the start of next school year in August. But they’re not sure if they’ll have all of the money raised by that time. The preschool currently serves 25 3-and-4-year-olds and employs four teachers.
The preschool plans to buy two of the three lots the Foletti building occupies. Hoffman says the space will be 100 square feet larger than their current location. They plan to build a playground outside of the facility and to rent out an office space in the building for extra income.