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Kenai student mural uncovered in airport remodel

January 19, 2019
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This Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 photo shows a mural painted in 1977 at the Kenai Municipal Airport by advanced art students from a local high school in in Kenai, Alaska. The mural was discovered Tuesday by construction crews working on a remodel of the airport. (Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion via AP)

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Construction crews working on a remodel of the Kenai Municipal Airport have discovered a mural created by students more than four decades ago.

The mural was designed and painted in the spring of 1977 by Kenai Central High School students from an advanced art class, the Peninsula Clarion reported . The class was taught by the late teacher, Renae Larson.

The mural was uncovered Tuesday at the front of the airport building. An airport expansion project in the 1980s had led to the artwork being covered with metal panels.

The mural depicts local icons, including the Russian Orthodox Church, a fishing net with crab and a dog musher and sled dog team.

The discovery is refreshing memories for former students, including Babbi Goodwin, who helped paint the church. She said she was surprised by the discovery.

“I know they want to make (the airport) modern, but it’s so neat to see my art and my class’ project,” Goodwin said. “But I understand it needs to modernize.”

Melanie Beverly also was a student in the advanced art class. She said she doesn’t remember much about the experience, but she found a note in her yearbook from Larson thanking her for her work.

“The airport is super,” the teacher wrote.

Mary Bondurant, manager of the airport, recalled a hidden mural. It was not part of the renovation plans discussion, she said.

“It’s been great talking to people who were there and helped with the mural,” she said.

Some locals would like to see the mural preserved, despite the renovation project.

“It’s part of the legacy of my class,” said Jerry Faulkner, who graduated from the high school in 1977.