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$22.5 million school opens doors to students

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Emily Landeen - 6:07 PM August 14, 2014

It may be a bittersweet day, but it’s one Esther Erickson has been working hard to achieve.

“I seriously can’t wait, I’ve been looking forward to it,” Erickson said.

Thursday is the final first day of school for the senior at Valley Pathways School in Palmer.

After a summer away from the classroom she’s ready to be back, see friends, and together explore the halls of a school none of them have been allowed inside.

“Dude, this is huge. I like it,” said Erickson as she toured the school for the first time.

The new Valley Pathways facility is the first school to be built from a $214 million bond passed in 2011.

With that money, the Mat-Su Borough School District promises five other new schools in the next three years and upgrades to all its existing ones.

The Mat-Su Borough is the only school district in the state that is expanding and Valley Pathways has more students than ever and room to grow.

“After spending so much time in the portables, to be in a building right now, it’s a dream. It’s hard to believe that it’s even happening,” said Valley Pathways principal Jim Wanser.

The new facility has a price tag of $22.5 million.

It is a milestone not just for this school and the district, but also for students on a journey to graduation.

Mat-Su Day School also has a brand new facility that opens to students Friday.

The next school being built with the bond money is Joe Redington, Sr. Junior-Senior High School, which broke ground in the spring.

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