ASD schools set to open after quake damage
In a "welcome back" video sent Sunday afternoon, Anchorage School District superintendent Deena Bishop said that most ASD schools will open and ready for students Monday morning.
"ASD crews, employees, and community volunteers have been working around the clock since the earthquake hit on November 30, to ensure that our facilities are safe and ready to receive students. Additionally, school staff have joined with other schools to provide personal support, extra hands, and steady encouragement." Bishop wrote in an email sent to ASD families, staff and community members on Sunday. "Experiencing the earthquake and continuing aftershocks are unplanned events but events for which we prepare, practice, and are ready. Putting in order the facilities has been a monumental task. Putting in order the emotional and human readiness lies within each of us and collectively, together."
Included in the email was a video showing what ASD schools and communities experienced after the quake, featuring the superintendent. You can watch the video at https://www.asdk12.org/2018earthquake.
Last week, clean up and moving efforts were underway at Eagle River Elementary.
“I came into my office and just stood there this morning,” principal Lisa Prince said. “I didn’t know where to start.”
The school was taken offline by the school district due to severe structural damage sustained during Friday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
The school was built in 1961. It survived the 1964 earthquake and stood firm for 54 years after.
“It did its job twice,” Darin Hargraves with the ASD maintenance department said. “It survived two major earthquakes and is one of our oldest buildings.”
Hargraves, like Anchorage's mayor, says engineering and building codes are to thank for minimizing damage.
“It’s really a credit to the design of all our buildings,” Hargraves said. “They all, districtwide, did what they were supposed to do, save lives.”
The building is currently deemed unsafe and students will be rerouted to three different schools in the area.
“Preschool will go to Ravenwood,” principal Prince said. “Kindergarten through third grade is going to Homestead. Our optional program and fourth through sixth grade will go to Birchwood.”
“I’m trying to take as many familiar things as I can,” first-grade teacher Deni McCloud said. “Just to make the kids as comfortable and normal as possible. In my 21 years, this is the best class I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to get them all back and see them again.”
That same morning, people lined up to begin the process of moving Gruening Middle School to Chugiak High School.
All ASD schools, with the exception of Gruening Middle School, are confirmed to be up and running for classes on Monday, Dec. 10.
Elizabeth Roman contributed to this report.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
RELATED NEWS COVERAGE: