Between 1887 and 1997, a school occupied a portion of the land now known as Capital School Park. (Undated photo courtesy of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum)

Between 1887 and 1997, a school occupied a portion of the land now known as Capital School Park. (Undated photo courtesy of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum)

A new life is in store for Capital School Park

Public input is helping craft a vision for the park’s voter-approved facelift.

Thanks to the bond sale passed by Juneau voters in 2020, Capital School Park will soon be getting an overhaul, with construction scheduled to start this summer, park officials said.

[Assembly sends $15 million bond package to voters]

A crumbling retaining wall near the rear of the park is one of the driving forces behind the redesign. While repair costs to that section will dictate how extensively the park can be remodeled, an online planning meeting Tuesday night gave park developers and community members a chance to share feedback and swap ideas about the park’s evolution.

“A lot of the work is going to start with repairing or replacing the existing retaining wall. That will address the drainage concerns and standing water on the basketball courts,” said Michael Eich, engineering project manager for the City and Borough of Juneau.

The historic park, which is located at Fifth and Seward Street, is designated as a neighborhood park. But Michele Elfers, deputy director of parks and recreation for CBJ, said it’s proximity to the Capitol Building, state offices and the waterfront make it a popular spot for office workers and tourists. A school was on the site from 1887 to 1997, which is the origin of the park’s name.

“While it’s similar to Rotary Park in the valley, there are things that make it a little different from other parks,” Elfer said at the meeting.

She said the city received hundreds of responses to recent surveys about the park and the community’s desires for future improvements.

Creating a wish list

On Tuesday night, Alaska-based landscape architect Monique Anderson of Anderson Land Planning showed design options for a reconstructed park and polled the Zoom audience about possible park features. Top wish-list items included outdoor fitness equipment and a community garden space.

[Maybe it’s raining at sea level, but Eaglecrest is chillin’]

Based on participation in the meeting and survey results, a strong preference exists for new playground equipment with a more artistic flair and preservation of existing features, such as the sledding hill and important cultural features, including the Empty Chair memorial, totem poles and dedication trees.

With the public planning process under way, MRV Architects will update the plan based on feedback and prepare bid-ready drawings. Once the funds are officially approved, bids should be out in May, with construction to follow this summer, Eich said.

Contact Dana Zigmund at or 9017-308-4891.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 29

Bus drivers picket outside the bus barn in Wasilla, Alaska on Jan. 26, 2023. Bus drivers in Alaska’s second-largest school district have gone on strike after delivering students to classes on Tuesday,  Jan. 31, citing unfair labor practices. (Loren Holmes / Anchorage Daily News)
Mat-Su school bus drivers strike

ANCHORAGE — Bus drivers in Alaska’s second-largest school district went on strike… Continue reading

The Juneau School District’s recently announced its new directors of teaching and learning support and student services who are set to start in their positions in July. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
District selects new directors for teaching and learning support and student services

The new directors will take over their roles in the district in July.

The final Boeing 747 lands at Paine Field following a test flight, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Everett, Wash. Boeing bids farewell to an icon on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, when it delivers the jumbo jet to cargo carrier Atlas Air. Since it debuted in 1969, the 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft, but it has been rendered obsolete by more profitable and fuel-efficient models. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times)
Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE — Boeing bid farewell to an icon on Tuesday: It’s delivering… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

President Joe Biden talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, after returning from an event in Baltimore on infrastructure. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)
Biden to end COVID-19 emergencies on May 11

The move would formally restructure the federal coronavirus response.

Carla Casulucan, shareholder relations manager for Huna Totem Corp., gives public testimony Monday night in support of the Huna Totem development and urged the city to vote against an ordinance that would have allowed the city to spend $300,000 to help plan the location of a proposed cruise ship dock at the downtown subport. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
City decides against spending on cruise ship dock planning

Assembly votes down ordinance after more than a dozen public comments against it.

Eaglecrest Ski Patrol received a report of an avalanche in closed terrain in the East Bowl Chutes at 10:10 a.m. Thursday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Most Read