Two New Construction Projects Underway at Kenai Fjords National Park
Contact: Laura Sturtz, (907) 422-0528
The National Park Service has awarded a $2.6 million contract to renovate the Old Solly's Building as the park headquarters in downtown Seward and the U.S. Department of Transportation - Western Federal Lands Highways Division has awarded an $800,000 contract to repair road damage and test an interim solution to the road flooding on the Herman Leirer Road within the park at Exit Glacier.
Old Solly's Building
The rehabilitative work will include structural improvements to the roof, exterior siding, and interior spaces; improvements for accessibility, including the addition of an elevator; and installation of new mechanical and electrical systems. The work will continue through the winter and is expected to be substantially completed by May 2013.
The National Park Service owns five properties in the downtown Seward area, all purchased in 2005 as directed by Congress during the development of the proposed Mary Lowell Center, a multi-agency facility that would have provided visitor facilities, administrative offices for two agencies, and a small conference center for the City of Seward. Insufficient funds are available to complete the full suite of projects originally proposed for the Mary Lowell Center.
The Old Solly's project uses existing funding to meet the park's most pressing needs. Three of the original five lots in downtown Seward are now considered excess to the park's administrative needs and NPS is moving forward with a process to excess them. The Old Solly's building will become the park's new headquarters and will include a small visitor area for winter and shoulder season visitors to Seward. Visitors to Seward during the summer months will continue to enjoy a full array of services at the visitor contact station in the small boat harbor. The exterior appearance of the Old Solly's building will complement the character of other downtown buildings with a blending of traditional siding and paint finishes.
The short alley between Washington and Railway will not be accessible during construction and street parking on Washington has been altered to allow continued use of the alley north of Washington by delivery trucks.
Herman Leirer Road (Exit Glacier Access)
Work on the road will begin after September 1 to take advantage of the reduced glacial melt and reduced levels of visitation. The Exit Glacier area will remain open during construction, although there may be short delays.
Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 and encompasses about 670,000 acres on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula. The park sees about 280,000 recreational visits each year. We look forward to completing these improvements in our park so that our visitors are better and more safely served.
Did You Know?
River otters defecate in certain spots to mark their territory. Researchers in Kenai Fjords National Park have discovered that these "latrine sites" enrich the soil, allowing plants to grow in those spots that aren't found anywhere else close by.