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Sitka unites to save historic Alaska campus

Save the Campus

Sheldon Jackson College, the oldest institution of higher learning in Alaska, officially closed in 2004. But the campus and buildings can be found on the National Historic Landmark list, and the people of Alaska weren't ready to let it fall into disrepair. Instead, they've united to overhaul the old structure, committing tens of thousands of volunteer hours from the community of less than 9,000 inhabitants.

Sheldon Jackson was founded in 1878, and underwent numerous changes in its more than 100-year-long existence. Originally a technical college, it transitioned to a boarding school for Alaska Native students, focusing on an English-based education. Eventually, it added a four-year college program in 1944. The program wasn't accredited until more than two decades later.

The aging facility closed in 2004. Now, it represents the future home of Sitka Fine Arts Camp once the renovation is complete, and it has become a labor of love for many members of the tight-knit Southeast Alaska community.

Eventually, they hope it will be home to numerous arts and cultural activities in Southeast, but there's still much work to be done. You can make a donation to the cause at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp website, but check out the video above and see what the project's all about.