Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/26/2001 03:40 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              SJR 27-NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY IN JUNEAU                                                                        
JESSIE  KIEHL,  staff for  Senator  Elton,  extended  the  Senator's                                                            
regrets  for  missing the  meeting.  The  resolution  expresses  the                                                            
legislature's  support   to  the federal   government  for  the  new                                                            
National Guard  Armory facility in  Juneau. The current armory  must                                                            
move because  it sits on  Alaska Mental Health  Trust land  and they                                                            
plan to redevelop the property.  The guard proposes working with the                                                            
University of  Alaska Southeast (UAS) on a joint facility  that will                                                            
meet many  recreational  needs for  the university  and the  guard's                                                            
needs  for a  mustering  and training  facility.  It  would be  cost                                                            
efficient to have a joint facility.                                                                                             
The  federal  reviewing  and  scoring process  for  this  and  other                                                            
similar  projects  begins  soon. Although  this  project  stands  an                                                            
excellent chance for approval,  an expression of legislative support                                                            
would improve its chances.                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT   said  the  last  paragraph   of  the  sponsor                                                            
statement  talks about a  1998 legislative  appropriation.  He asked                                                            
whether any federal funds have been received.                                                                                   
MR. KEIHL was  not sure whether any federal funds  had been received                                                            
but  there  was a  state  appropriation  of about  $1.6  million,  a                                                            
portion  of which  was  spent  and another  portion  allocated  upon                                                            
initial site design and preparation.                                                                                            
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked  when the state appropriation occurred and                                                            
whether the 1998 appropriation was from the general fund.                                                                       
MR. KEIHL  said he  discussed the  $1.6 million  appropriation  with                                                            
Carol Carroll  from the Department of Military and  Veterans Affairs                                                            
and  Department   of  Natural  Resources  and  Niko   Bus  from  the                                                            
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT questioned  the need  for the resolution  since                                                            
monetary support  had already been  given: Was it needed  before the                                                            
federal process  could begin?  He also wanted  to know what  type of                                                            
expense could  be expected, what the blending of funds  would be for                                                            
a joint  project and whether  this project  would obligate  the next                                                            
year's capital budget for future appropriations.                                                                                
MR. KEIHL said  a representative of  the university was present  and                                                            
could add to his answer.  In response to the first question, he said                                                            
the resolution  is not a precursor  to or essential for the  federal                                                            
review of the  request for a new armory in Juneau.  It does however,                                                            
provide an expression of  the state's interest and support and would                                                            
be helpful in ranking the project.                                                                                              
KEITH GERKIN,  Director of Facilities  for the University  of Alaska                                                            
Southeast, emphasized  their support of the resolution  and project.                                                            
Both agencies  have been looking for solutions to  their independent                                                            
facility  needs. In the last  year, they have  talked about  a joint                                                            
project  and have  completed 35  percent of  the design  work for  a                                                            
facility that  would be situated on university property.  This is an                                                            
efficient use of resources  because the buildings are very expensive                                                            
to build and  operate and they will  get more building by  combining                                                            
resources than  by building individual facilities.  The university's                                                            
share to build the facility  will be $5.3 million and that amount is                                                            
in its statewide capital  multiyear plan. Previously there have been                                                            
both federal and  state general fund appropriations  for design work                                                            
for  the Alaska  National  Guard's portion.  This  resolution is  an                                                            
effort  to get  the priority  for the  construction  money from  the                                                            
federal government.                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  asked if this would then obligate  the state to                                                            
produce the $5.3 million general fund money.                                                                                    
MR. GERKIN said  it would and he thought there was  additional match                                                            
of federal  dollars  for the National  Guard  portion. Someone  from                                                            
Military  and Veteran's  Affairs would  be in a  better position  to                                                            
talk about the federal monies.                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  asked what specific  facilities the  university                                                            
was looking at.                                                                                                                 
MR.  GERKIN  responded   they  are  lacking  indoor  intramural   or                                                            
organized sporting facilities.  Recreational facilities are expected                                                            
as a part of normal student  life and UAS has been trying to fulfill                                                            
the need for  the last 15 years. The  current plan is to  expand the                                                            
National Guard's drill  hall to the size of a gymnasium. There would                                                            
be lockers,  showers  and exercise  rooms and a  running track  that                                                            
would  be used  by  both  user groups.  Several  classrooms  in  the                                                            
facility are in  the National Guard plan. Student  service areas are                                                            
planned that  would be used to assemble  for activities and  dances.                                                            
In  the  event  of  a disaster   or  National  Guard  priority,  the                                                            
university would suspend  its use temporarily. Both agencies know it                                                            
takes  accommodation to  share the  facility but  they believe  they                                                            
will  be  getting  more than  if  they  build  individually  so  the                                                            
inconveniences are workable.                                                                                                    
SENATOR PHILLIPS asked whether it would include an ice rink.                                                                    
MR. GERKIN  said it would  not. In the early  1980s that was  in the                                                            
plan but they have scaled  back their proposed recreational facility                                                            
considerably over the years.                                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  asked for specifics  of the cost and  source of                                                            
funds if the project is 35 percent designed.                                                                                    
MR. GERKIN  replied the National  Guard had  a total design  in hand                                                            
when they  approached  the university  about a  joint facility.  The                                                            
university  and the National Guard  made a few modifications  to the                                                            
design to include  specific university needs. Costs  associated with                                                            
planning  for the  modifications were  shared.  The university  paid                                                            
one-third  of  the  design modifications   and that  came  to  about                                                            
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  apologized for  not having had the opportunity                                                             
to  express  his   questions  directly  to  Senator   Elton  so  the                                                            
information would be available  for the hearing. Nonetheless, he was                                                            
not ready to  act on the resolution  until he had a full  accounting                                                            
and clearly  understood past  appropriations  and the potential  for                                                            
future obligations.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  DAVIS said she  could understand  wanting more information                                                             
but since this was just  a resolution and didn't obligate any money,                                                            
she asked why  couldn't the information  be given later.  After all,                                                            
the legislative session was about to end.                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT asked  whether this was  time sensitive  due to                                                            
the process going on with the federal government.                                                                               
MR. KEIHL replied it would  need to pass this year to have an impact                                                            
on the ranking process.                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  said he was willing  to move it from  committee                                                            
but he would  like to see the accounting  before he, Senator  Pearce                                                            
and Senator Phillips saw it as members of the rules committee.                                                                  
MR. KEIHL said they would be happy to provide the information.                                                                  
Senator Pearce  joined the meeting and Chairman Therriault  gave her                                                            
a recap.                                                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked for amendments. There were none.                                                                      
He asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                                                                     
SENATOR DAVIS moved SJR  27 and zero fiscal note from committee with                                                            
individual  recommendations  and a request  that the information  be                                                            
provided to the next committee. There were no objections.                                                                       

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