School starts on Monday in Anchorage, but some returning students may find their school looks nothing like it did when they left it at the start of summer. That’s the case for Gladys Wood Elementary School.


The West Anchorage school is undergoing a major remodel and most of the classrooms have been turned into a construction zone.


Principal Cindy Hemry said the school needs a major overhaul. The $17 million project will touch almost every part of the aging facility and includes an addition with four new classrooms. She said younger students will shift around in the building throughout the year but students in the third grade and up will be placed in portable classrooms for the school year.


“We are all in the state of mind that we are going to be flexible, that this is going to be a year of growth for our school,” Hemry said. “We are going to maintain our education program, our kids are going to learn and it’s going to be great. The end product is what we are focusing on.”


Anchorage school construction manager Edie Knapp said the money for Gladys Wood was one of the last school bonds approved by voters in 2015. No Anchorage School District construction bonds passed in the 2016 election, but Knapp said the district would try again with voters next year and hope for better luck.


“We are hoping that we will be successful with a bond in 2017,” Knapp said. “The district has $280 million worth of backlog, including systems and roofs and boilers that are nearing the end of their useful life. Just like any homeowner we need to maintain the equipment.”


Gladys Wood isn’t the only school that will be undergoing major construction throughout the school year. Knapp said Turnagain Elementary School is going through a similar remodel and many students will be placed in portable classrooms for the school year there.


KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or on Twitter.