By Greg Kim
Napakiak is at the top of the state’s list for a new school building. That’s as of Dec. 21, 2021, when the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development released its Capital Improvement Project Grant Priority List for Fiscal Year 2023, a list of which communities are most in need of a new school. Napakiak was fourth on that list a year ago, but Napakiak’s existing school is within 64 feet of an eroding riverbank.
Napakiak made the jump largely thanks to the state legislature, according to Tim Mearig, facilities manager for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. He said that when the legislature approved $3.1 million in September 2021 to demolish the existing K-12 school in Napakiak, that helped bump Napakiak’s replacement school project to the top of the list. That’s because once the state makes an initial investment on a school construction project, that project receives higher priority for future funding.