- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Bethel school officials have announced plans for two schools displaced by a fire.

The Nov. 3 Kilbuck building fire destroyed an Ayaprun Yup’ik immersion school and damaged the Kuskokwim Learning Academy.

The Lower Kuskokwim School Board is planning to build a new school on the district campus for the Yup’ik students. In the meantime, the board is looking to lease the Kipusvik building from Bethel Native Corporation for three to five years until the new building is complete, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/1lRs2NJ).

After 20 years, Board Chair Susan Murphy said it is time for Ayaprun to have a school of its own.

“They’re a Yup’ik immersion school. They need their own space. They need their own identity. They have been housed in bits and pieces ever since they were created. They need to be proud of who they are, and the kids need a place that they can say this is our school. This is Ayaprun. This is us,” Murphy said.

The board’s vision for the Kuskokwim Learning Academy is for the school to remain at Yuut Elitnaurviat. The plan calls for Yuut to add classrooms and dorms to its facilities and lease the space to the school district. Construction would be fast-tracked, with renovations set for completion by January 2017.

The board said that KLA, which is an alternative high school focused on pre-workforce development, would pair well with Yuut, a school that provides adult workforce development training.

“This is an opportunity to bring that mission of KLA and workforce development back to the mission of Yuut and put them together,” said Dan Walker, district superintendent.

Murphy noted that the final decisions for the two schools will depend on the insurance assessment, which officials expect to have in January.

“We need to know how much money we have before we can decide how to spend it,” she said.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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