The Anchorage School District is hurrying to finish two elementary school remodels before students head back to class on Aug. 21st. According to the District, both Turnagain and Gladys Wood Elementary schools should be nearly complete by that time.

Money for the remodels was approved by voters in 2015. Renovations began in May of 2016 and continued throughout the winter. Students and staff at both schools held classes in a construction zone that included a large number of portable classrooms on the property.

Gladys Wood principal Cindy Hemry, said she is glad the construction is winding down.

“We are thrilled,” said Hemry. “Having half the school out, and half the school in, it’s just going to be nice that we are under one roof.”

The Gladys Wood remodel cost $14.5-million. It includes a new wing with four new classrooms, a new library, a new heating system, as well as, state-of-the-art security features, according to project manager Calvin Mundt.

“Administrators can look at everybody coming in the building by video cameras and let them in by electronic push button,” said Mundt. “And there’s also the Anchorage police dispatch button in case you need immediate communication to the police department. Also, lock down features that just basically lock the building down.”

Mundt said these remodels are the last, top to bottom school renovations the District has currently planned. He said school bonds passed by voters in the last election will go towards ongoing maintenance needs, like installing new roofs and heating systems.