It's a bittersweet time for the Mount Spurr Elementary School community as staff and students held a celebration Monday commemorating 65 years of service on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. It also signified an end of an era, as the school is closing its doors for good at the end of the year.

Next year, Mount Spurr students will instead attend one of the other two elementary schools on JBER: Orion or Aurora Elementary School.

During the commemorative ceremony in the school's gymnasium, Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop prepared the students for their new adventure. She called it a difficult, but exciting time.

“You understand moving to a new place,” Bishop said. “That although it's difficult and you love where you are, that it offers a new beginning, new friendships and new experiences."

Last November, the Anchorage School Board voted 5-2 in favor of consolidating Mount Spurr due to low attendance numbers.

Capacity at Mount Spurr, Orion and Aurora hovered just below 50%. Moving students and staff to Aurora and Orion will increase both of those schools to around 80% capacity. The board says that leaves enough room for any additional military families making their way to JBER this year. 

Monday's ceremony was filled with student emcees, singing, a slide show and cake. Outside, Mount Spurr principal Anna Walker helped the group bury a time capsule containing items from the school. 

"We have Mount Spurr T-shirts there,” Walker said. “We have staff picture, we have some letters from our students for future generations and we also have dry erase marker in there because a long time ago they used chalk, but right now we're using dry erase markers. Who knows? That might be something that they won’t be using in the future."

Walker hopes the capsule will be opened up 65 years from now. 

The district will turn over the building that currently houses Mount Spurr to JBER. Staff and teachers will be shifted to Orion, Aurora or other schools and departments in the district. 

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