Mosquito Lake school in Haines won’t reopen

The first Friends of Mosquito Lake meeting in December. (Photo from KHNS.org)
The first Friends of Mosquito Lake meeting in December. (Photo from KHNS.org)

There are not enough students to reopen Mosquito Lake School for 2015-2016. That’s the consensus Friends of Mosquito Lake School and Community Center announced late last week, but the group still plans to work on strategies to open the school in the future.

To help with that effort, the group has decided to apply for non-profit status with the state.

Dana Hallett is on Friends of Mosquito Lake’s steering committee. He says they found that there are 16 school-aged children in the Mosquito Lake area, but not enough of their families were willing to switch them from attending the Haines school, Klukwan school, or homeschool.

Hallett says opening the building as a school is still their primary objective. They hope to work with the school board to come up with ideas to make it a more attractive option to families.

In the meantime, the group is putting together a business plan to use the building as a community center. Hallett says it could be used for things like a preschool, senior lunch and community activities. They will present the business plan to the borough with the hope that it will make it into the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Mosquito Lake School closed last year because a drop in enrollment below ten students disqualified it from state funding. The borough has not allowed residents to use the building for meetings or activities because they budgeted to maintain it at the bare minimum expense.

At a recent borough planning commission meeting, Borough Manager Dave Sosa withdrew his request to classify the school building for sale after about an hour of public comment from residents opposing that decision. Sosa said he would revisit the possibility of selling the building in July, giving Friends of Mosquito Lake more time to come up with a viable plan.

Hallett hopes Friends of Mosquito Lake will gain non-profit status and be able to set up an agreement with the borough to use the building as a community gathering place and eventually again as a school.

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