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City and Nome Public Schools Discuss Cost of Housing Project, Present Rough Timeline for Construction

The City of Nome and Nome Public Schools (NPS) are moving forward with a nearly $5.2 million project to provide housing for school district employees and police officers.

In a City Council work session last Wednesday (Sept. 23rd), NPS Superintendent Jamie Burgess and City Manager Glenn Steckman presented the project’s budget and tentative timeline.

“So we’re looking at a project, at this point, at $5,054,000. Now, all of these are projections. We won’t know what’s going to happen until we actually go out and bid the project.”

– Glenn Steckman

City Manager Steckman reiterated to the council that, “these costs could change.”

However, Steckman still advocated for pushing forward with the development of the new apartment building located near the corner of Steadman St. and East 3rd Avenue.

“There is enough money right now available to start dealing with the soft costs and the architectural design of the building, so we can get it out to bid.”

– Glenn Steckman

Superintendent Burgess outlined some of the “soft costs” in the development budget, which include closing, escrow, and title fees, as well as administrative expenses. Burgess says these are just estimates, and, “some of [the costs], we don’t really know how accurate these numbers are.”

The construction costs, however, are reflected in the budget, along with a $500,000 grant from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. The subtotal for construction costs amounts to $4,992,024, and the soft cost subtotal is estimated to be $1,033,115.

City Manager Steckman anticipates construction on the NPS apartment building could begin as early as next summer.

“The goal is to have this hopefully under construction by sometime next summer to start, but it’s going to take at least another year to get it done.”

– Glenn Steckman

Superintendent Burgess went on to clarify that the timeline will depend on the start date. And while the City Council ultimately voiced support for the project, there is still plenty more to be done before breaking ground.

On the next council meeting agenda, Interim Mayor John Handeland hopes to include the passage of an ordinance allowing the City of Nome to procure an additional lot located next to the NPS housing project, on Steadman and East 3rd Avenue. According to Handeland, this lot will be used for parking and storage.

In the Nome City Council’s regular meeting on Monday (Sept. 28th), the council passed a resolution in support of the NPS housing project.

Image at top: The proposed site for the new NPS and City of Nome housing project on the corner of Steadman Street and East 3rd Avenue. Photo by Sophia DeSalvo, KNOM (2020).

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