The School Ground Host Program started in the summer of 1999.  This program consists of an agreement between the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and full-time retired R.V.'ers from all over the country.  These R.V.'ers are provided a cost free place (including electricity and water, but not including sewer hookup) to reside at any facility in exchange for reporting the "sightings" of any vandalism or suspicious activity to the proper authorities.  It also allows R.V.'ers to travel throughout the Kenai Peninsula as there are two sets of R.V.'ers at each facility in order to allow a little mobility to the participants.

There was limited interest shown during the first year of the program, but in 1999 one of our "hosts" wrote an article in Trailer Life magazine commending the program.  The article resulted in a flood of interest for the summer of 2000 (and 2001).  In 2000 over 20 facilities were involved. 

If you are interested in participating in this program please e-mail us at:

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District!


ADA, DEC, and OSHA Regulations every year absorb an increasing portion of every School District’s Budget.  While revenue directed at stricter guidelines is absolutely necessary, the ever evolving regulations require funds that might otherwise be spent on building maintenance.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Maintenance Department has strived to achieve the balance of achieving compliance with new regulations and conducting the maximum preventive and major maintenance programs with funds available.


With local appropriations, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has embarked on an ambitious program to improve ADA access. Front entry ramps have been constructed, parking designated, signage posted, toilet room fixtures changed, stalls modified, stair elevators installed, doors removed and widened, and drinking fountains replaced.  In the 2000 construction season Seward Junior/Senior High School received a rebuilt pool entry, and HC toilet/shower facilities for the pool lockerrooms.  Soldotna High School received a HC classroom.  Homer Junior High School is scheduled to receive a new wheel chair lift to access the upper floor of the building.  Numerous lavatories were changed at several grade school, and the Central Office Building received a HC unisex restroom.

Exit Signs

Illuminated exit signs in our facilities number in neighborhood of 600.  Annually the expiration dates are verified and the units replaced when necessary.

Fire Alarms

Fire alarm systems are tested and verified annually. Each horn and strobe is activated via the respective pull station, and auto dialers are activated.  In construction season 1997, the Seward Jr High fire alarm was put to bid after the system was declared antiquated and unsafe by the Seward Fire Marshall.  The lowest bid in the $400,000 price range was far above the $175,000 appropriated by the borough assembly.  It was therefore determined that the project would be brought in-house to achieve the savings necessary to complete the project.  Temporary employees were retained from the previous 1997 construction season, and the project was brought in well under budget by February 1998.  During the course of the extensive fire alarm upgrade, obsolete electrical panel identification was brought up to date, and numerous crawlspace electrical conduit runs were repaired.  In an effort to eliminate a boarder line confined space condition, access hatches were cut-in, and crawlspace lighting was installed.

Sprinkler Systems

Building automatic sprinkler systems receive annual testing and certification.  Jockey and submersible pumps are activated.  Each sprinkler head is checked for condition and replaced if necessary.

Fire Extinguishers

Some 600 fire extinguishers throughout the district are checked monthly.  The Soldotna Maintenance facility has the provisions and certified personnel to test, fill and re-certify the extinguishers.


The borough has asbestos materials in thirty five facilities, the asbestos is maintained in good condition and is inspected for condition changes two times each year.  Facilities are notified annually on material condition and activities that effect their facilities.  Asbestos abatement occurs in our facilities whenever there is a change in material conditions, area usage, or to facilitate remodeling or renovation activities.

One large in house abatement project can save the Borough enough to pay for several smaller projects including build back.  Using our budget moneys in house we can remove four to six times the materials v/s contracting out.  We own the equipment and have State Certified Workers available locally (if contracted out workers are paid at Davis Bacon pay rates).


Our Soldotna Maintenance facility is the base for the area wide painting crew.  The work schedule is dedicated mainly to building classroom interiors in the winter school months (on a 7 year schedule), and building exteriors, corridors, and lockers during the summer construction season (on an 8 year schedule).

While we have specified block or concrete exterior construction for new design criteria on future buildings, many of our older remote structures have wooden exteriors and require more frequent maintenance.  Six building exteriors were completed during the summer months of 1998.

This department is also responsible for the annual in-house gym floor screening and refinishing of 17 full size gym floors, as well as various green rooms and stages.  We have found that since we began our in-house program, employing off-season custodians, we have had less scheduling problems and brought the cost of the operation down to approximately half of what it was when contracted.

Typically one to two gym floors per year are contracted out for total refinishing and striping.  Two gym floors at Soldotna Middle School were completed in1998.

The Painting Department is also responsible for running track and parking lot striping, including ADA, cross walks, and bus lane designations.

The Borough has strived to keep our buildings’ paint deterioration to a minimum.  A well painted building gives the impression that the rest of the building is also well maintained.


Roofs:  When a roof fails, not only is the structure compromised, but also the interior walls, ceilings, floor coverings, classroom furnishings and equipment are endangered.  In one instance, an aging roof failed during a winter Chinook, and an entire choir wardrobe and stage curtain was lost at Soldotna High School (the roof in this area has since been completely replaced.

Typically, architecturally designed roofs have in the past provided our facilities with a built-up roof system, normally warranted by the manufacturer for 10 years.  Our maintenance personnel have systematically inspected each roof, anticipated problems, and have repaired or patched aging roofs as necessary.  This preventative action has, on the average, allowed most “10-year” roofs a realistic lifespan of twenty to twenty-five years.  Ultimately, however, the more brittle material of past technology takes its toll, and demands that entire roofs be replaced.

Over the years, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Maintenance Department has compiled and organized an as-built database showing each facility roof system.  Thus, we can reduce each facility down to manageable sections that may be either continually patched, or, at anticipated intervals, completely replaced.  In this manner we have stretched our maintenance dollars to protect our structures, and, when total replacement is required, we’ve substantially reduced energy costs by replacing existing inefficient, saturated and antiquated roof insulation with the latest technologically available high density products currently on the market.

For new structures, our current design criteria calls for “EPDM” or similar rubber style roof construction.  However, due to budget constraints on re-roof projects and to maintain roof structural integrity, many of our roof replacement projects have dictated the use of conventional built-up roofing systems.  Our contention is that if a ten-year new product can be protected by regularly scheduled preventative maintenance and enhancement, we can count on a twenty plus year investment.


Nineteen of the district’s facilities depend on wells and waste water disposal systems on-site. For this reason, the Kenai Peninsula Borough monitors these systems closely and utilizes all preventative maintenance measures available.

Waste Water Treatment

Septic tanks are routinely pumped annually, by contract, to eliminate excess sludge build-up and premature leach field failure.  Some ground conditions in the Borough present challenging circumstances.  In the 1997 construction season, the Ninilchik School leach field system was finally replaced after thirty years.  The well graded gravel subsurface material and maintenance obviously attributed to the longevity.

At the McNeil Canyon Elementary School, east of Homer, the silty subsurface material will accept virtually no water.  When the initial system began to fail within a few years after the school was opened in 1982, a sand filter system was incorporated and minimum chlorination was added.  After fourteen years the system is now on the extreme limits of meeting DEC regulations.  An increasing number of residences are emerging downstream in the canyon between the school and Katchemak Bay.  For these reasons, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Maintenance Department has established this project as a candidate for FY99 state funding in this application.  To date, we have contracted the services of a reputable engineering firm to evaluate the situation, and perform a cost analysis for planning purposes.

Water Wells

As in other environmental issues, DEC is continually tightening regulations on potable water and well systems.  To date, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has been able to meet the constricting demands on all facilities.  The water at all buildings with on-site water wells is tested per DEC guidelines.  Annually, electrical contacts are examined, float switches adjusted, and water condition systems serviced.

In the 1997 construction season a new conditioning system was installed at Chapman Elementary in Anchor Point, and in the 1998 construction season a new filtration system was installed at the Cooper Landing School.  Additional pressure tanks were added at the Ninilchik School, and a new 2,000 gallon water storage tank was installed at the McNeil Canyon School, east of Homer. Lead/Copper issues at Sterling Elementary and K-Beach Elementary schools are coming into compliance with the DEC regulations.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly appropriated $125,000 in FY98 toward the future upgrade on on-site water systems.  Scheduled for construction season 1999 is a water purification system at the Moose Pass School near Seward.


Our Vehicle Shop Facility maintains an area wide fleet of:  105 pick-ups, vans, and flatbeds, 30 trailers, 34 school busses, 17 medium and heavy duty vehicles, as well as a variety of small and heavy equipment.  The vehicle shop facility is also responsible for maintaining our entire selection of landscape tractors, mowers, and specialized equipment to include 29 Emergency Warning Sirens throughout the Borough.  Also included in the fleet maintenance facility are 71 electrical generators located throughout the district’s facilities.

Pick-up’s, vans, trucks, and busses receive preventative maintenance servicing at scheduled 3,000 and 5,000 mile intervals.  Annual major inspections are performed on all vehicles.  School busses receive 60 day inspections and are also inspected semi-annually by the State of Alaska, Department of Education Inspector.  All vehicles and equipment are inspected for damaged or worn parts.  Other components examined are axle seals, brake lines, fuel lines, frame components, springs, trailer hitches, wiring harnesses, tires, bearing, and fluid levels.  Other inspection criteria are also performed according to Alaska D.O.T. and Federal Highway Inspection Standards.

The facility incorporates a maintenance software package that monitors and schedules preventative maintenance and schedules preventative maintenance work orders.  In 1990 the Borough initiated a vehicle replacement fund that purges the fleet of older vehicles, which would eventually require higher maintenance.  Under this program, pick-up’s and vans are replaced at 7 years or 70,000 mile intervals, and step-vans are replaced at 8 years or 80,000 mile intervals.


  Each and every facility with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District depends on the insurance of an emergency power generator.  Indeed, in the last year alone, numerous utility provided power outages would have rendered our structures helpless if not for the energy provided by our generators in the time of need.  Forty-Eight inch snowfalls have plagued some of our remote structures across Kachemak Bay at times even when helicopter access has been denied for up to three days at a time.  It is inconceivable that we would allow units to malfunction.

Monthly, the genset systems are subjected to load testing, transfer switches energized, and emergency circuits activated.  Summer months allow us the flexibility to perform minor and major engine and generator repairs and upgrades.  Gaskets are replaced, fuel systems examined, day tanks are checked for proper operation, and exhaust system piping and insulation verified.

Continual knowledge enhancement by our personnel provided annually by either travel to nationally sponsored manufacture’s seminars or importing representatives for on-site inspections and demonstrations.

In the 1998 construction season we replaced and upgraded the genset and transfer switch systems at Kenai Central High School and Nikolaevsk Village school.  During the 2000 construction season the generator at Sterling Elementary was upgraded and the engine at Hope School was replaced.  These components not only provide the insurance that our students have an uninterrupted classroom atmosphere, but the communities that these very systems are located depend on the fact that there will be a haven in the time of need.  Our attitude suggests that in times of emergencies, if we lose a generator, we may not only lose a building, but could also lose a community.


Safety within the electrical systems in our buildings are of the utmost importance to the electrical department.  With safety comes upgrading older systems to comply with the latest electrical codes and the ever-advancing needs for power and utilization.

As more and more computers and associated equipment are added, the electrical systems must be upgraded.  Our plan is to work with the school district administrators to ensure proper planning so that sufficient and reliable power is made available.  In most of our older schools, this can be quite challenging.

Lighting upgrades are another important part of our plan.  The latest technology of electronic ballast and more efficient lamps will not only save on energy consumption, (up to 25%) but also allow us to inspect and remove any hazardous wiring and components.  Lighting demands for ADA compliance, security and industry standards are also addressed.

Our preventative maintenance program includes inspection, testing and repair of elevators, generator transfer switches, emergency lighting and power, power distribution, area lighting and power utilization.  We work closely with other trades as they all depend on safe and reliable electrical power and control.

A program to update and organize electrical drawings and distribution panel schedules has been started.  The goal is to trace every electrical device and note all remodels and changes on the prints and panel schedules.  Each device is then labeled as to its origin and operation.  The electrical prints and panel schedules are then redrawn using computer aided drafting (CAD). Once these plans are on disc, additional changes and upgrades can be easily accomplished.


Prioritized maintenance on the boiler systems and combustion equipment to ensure building integrity and occupant safety is a major point of emphasis.  All components must be rigorously tested to protect the heating/ventilating systems and any persons using these facilities. Adherence to EPA guidelines for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) to ensure that proper building health is maintained is of prime concern.  The nature of these systems dictates that they shall be maintained rigidly in order to guarantee the safety of all its occupants.

To keep up with the ever changing standards and codes we must continually keep upgrading and properly maintaining our existing systems as well as installing new ones to meet the demands of each facility.  The emphasis of the School District to install new and additional computers within all facilities has put new demands on the ventilation systems that need to be addressed.  In some cases this involves modifications to the existing systems but in many, the original building components are not able to meet the new demand and additional heat load.  In these cases entire new heating/ventilation systems will need to be installed to maintain facility efficiency and comfort.

We also must strive to keep our heating systems running at peak efficiency to keep our utility costs to a minimum.  To achieve this, continual testing must be done on all fuel burning appliances and building controls must be calibrated and tested on a regular basis.

An emphasis is being put on upgrading facility energy control systems and to integrate them with lighting controls, fire alarms, building security and building access.  This will enable better control of the entire facility, and allow multiple users to access the facility systems on different levels and monitor all facility activities and components.  Currently most of our facilities are controlled by antiquated systems.  These systems are in serious need of upgrading in order to allow them to run at their peak efficiency and to assure the greatest savings in utility costs, as well as keeping the building as secure and comfortable as possible.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Maintenance Department consists of forty-six full time craft employees and an additional sixty to eighty part time employees during the summer construction season.  The department is divided into two geographical areas.

The Soldotna headquarters staffs our administrative personnel: Purchasing, Contract Coordinator, Data Input, and Central Warehouse.  A full time Project Manager also coordinates insurance claims, maintains the six year plan, and basically prepares plans and specifications, all major projects over $15,000, as well as numerous minor projects.  This position also works closely with our Public Works Department in grant writing and preparation.  Our Contract Coordinator is in charge of water testing, our concise AHERA program, snow removal and sweeping contracts, our in-house landscape program (12 employees in summer months), and our in-house asbestos abatement program (4 employees in summer months).

The Soldotna shop superintendent oversees twenty-eight permanent craftsmen during winter months and approximately sixty five temporaries during the summer construction season.  The permanent work force is distributed as follows: 4 auto mechanics, 2 carpenters, 1 electronic technician, 4 electricians, 6 general maintenance mechanics, 4 HVAC technicians, 3 painters, 1 roofer, and 1 locksmith.

These workmen migrate between facilities along 210 miles of road system communities from Hope in the north, to Seward in the east, the central areas of Kenai and Soldotna, to Ninilchik in the south.

The Soldotna facility is also the hub of our vehicle maintenance and painting departments, which covers the entire peninsula, including the Homer areas, an additional 60 road miles. The Maintenance Department in Soldotna is also the base of our area wide Safety Coordinator.

The Homer Maintenance facility is a scaled down version of the Soldotna complex.  It employees nine personnel full time during the winter school season and approximately fifteen temporary employees during the summer construction season.  The Homer foreman oversees 1 data input/clerical employee, 1 electrician, 3 general mechanics, 2 HVAC technicians, 1 locksmith, and 1 plumber.  The Homer operation maintains thirteen facilities that range from Ninilchik in the north to McNeil Canyon in the east, to remote communities of Seldovia, Port Graham, and Nanwalek sixty miles to the south, accessible only by water or air.  The location of secluded schools in a rain forest in Alaska poses unique challenges from the maintenance point of view.  Often in the winter, adverse weather prohibits transportation into and out of the area for days and sometimes weeks at a time. Occupants of the facilities rely heavily on the assumption that their buildings will remain functional until the storms pass.

The Borough Maintenance Department oversees one hundred and ninety-five buildings which includes: 41 schools, 46 support buildings, 77 storage buildings, and 31 classrooms. On an area of 894 acres, 125 acres are paved, and 160 acres have lawns.  We maintain 32 general fields, 32 baseball fields, 35 soccer fields, and 8 football fields.  Paved areas include: 42 tennis courts, 5 hockey rinks, and 8 running tracks which are on an annual maintenance patching contract.

The buildings in our district require maintenance on 2.3 million square feet of floor space, 50 acres of roofs, 120,000 square feet of glass, nearly 5 million square feet of painted walls, 7,000 door locks, and 130 overhead doors.  Requiring special attention are: 7 swimming pools, 8 elevators, 100 fan rooms, 5 auditoriums, and 17 wood gym floors.

Electrical components require maintenance on 43 fire alarm systems, 1,300 heat and smoke detectors, 2,500 motors, 80 scoreboards, 800 battery pack emergency lights, and over 40,000 light fixtures.

Mechanical and plumbing systems require servicing of: 110 boilers, 500 circulating pumps, 30 hot water booster heaters, 32 domestic hot water heaters, 340 exhaust fans, 60 air compressors, 20 energy management systems, 1,300 sinks, 1,300 toilets and urinals, and 450 showers.

Servicing of special equipment includes: 900 fire extinguishers, 130 gym bleacher sections, 130 basketball backboards, 7 auto hoists, 550 lunch room tables, 30 walk-in freezers and coolers, and over 580 pieces of specialized kitchen equipment.

It is the intent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough to conduct a maintenance program which ensures that all of the facilities within the School District exceed their life expectancy and remain in top marketable condition for as long as possible.

The age of our 41 school buildings range from the territorial Homer Elementary, constructed in 1936 at 62 years, and the territorial Kenai Elementary, constructed in 1949 at 49 years, to the new Seward Middle School, completed in 2005.  Whatever the life span, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has, consistently maintained, reconditioned, and upgraded our facilities in a manner which is no less than envious by other districts.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough contributes approximately $44,764,000 annually towards education.  Of that, approximately $5,410,000 or 11% is directed toward Building and Custodial Maintenance.  Beyond that, over the years, the Borough has consistently appropriated supplemental monies in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 per year to fund renewal and replacement projects.  Factors such as rising contractor costs, antiquated labor wage laws, and the lack of outside funding sources, have left the Borough with little choice other than to bring otherwise contracted projects in-house and complete them with permanent and temporary employees.  Examples are gym floor screening, boiler replacements, generator replacements, and in some cases roof replacements.

Our General Objectives

Systematically plan and schedule school facility and administration building maintenance to safeguard our capital investment, extend the useful life of the facilities, promote health and safety, and provide an appropriate environment for all that utilize the facilities.  Comply with all state and federal regulatory agencies.  Maintain Maintenance records on each facility to historically evaluate maintenance effectiveness and project future costs.


Kenai Peninsula Borough Calendar