Slow and steady: ASD still working on school earthquake repairs
It's a long process that may take years to complete, but the Anchorage School District is doing the work to ensure all schools will soon be up and running.
"We take this job serious," ASD Chief Operating Officer Tom Roth said. "It's always a privilege, it really is. It's a privilege that we are entrusted to take care of the public schools."
Roth says the school district wants to get the best value it can in repairing the 15 schools that were damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. Most recently, ASD submitted design plans for the two current schools offline, Eagle River Elementary and Gruening Middle School.
"The design process is starting," School Board President Starr Marsett said. "How we're going to rebuild those, not from the ground up, but how we're going to rebuild the structures as they are there."
Getting federal funding to help with the repairs has been a tedious process with some funding finally seeing approval. ASD is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in three categories which Roth calls A, B and E.
"Category A, which we completed several weeks ago, was for debris removal following the earthquake and we filed for about $500,000 for that," Roth said. "We did get concurrence from FEMA that they accepted those figures and that we're pending payment."
Roth also says insurance kicked in close to another $500,000 for water damage to buildings, but things get more complicated when the focus turns to categories B and E.
"We're now working on Category B and Category B is focused on temporary repairs that were done in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake," Roth said. "We have spent to date about $9 million on mostly these immediate damage repairs following the earthquake. That is ASD operational dollars."
The significance of categories A and B is there's no requirement to obtain and maintain earthquake insurance. That money is granted as reimbursement.
According to Roth, Category E is far more complex and deals with much more money and the requirement of earthquake insurance when it comes to repairing buildings. Roth also says a lot of the funds won't be available until the repairs are made.
Roth says the district may look into another school bond that would pay for the earthquake repairs.
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