With Tuesday's groundbreaking on the Joe Redington Sr. Junior-Senior High School, growth in the Mat-Su Valley is making its way into the Knik-Goose Bay area. Some say the expansion is setting up KGB's future.
When you're talking about space in the Mat-Su Valley, KGB has plenty of it -- in an area that has views, land, and affordable housing. Those perks have people flocking to the area in huge numbers -- enough to make it Alaska's fifth-largest community, with renovations recently proposed for Knik-Goose Bay Road.
"During the heavy commute it's bumper-to-bumper at times already so we are growing quickly, " said Patty Sullivan, the Mat-Su Borough's public affairs director.
But Mat-Su Borough School Board President Susan Pougher says the growth has caused some problems, especially for residents who have school-aged children.
"The students who live all the way out in Knik-Goose Bay spend about an hour and a half on the bus in the morning before they get out to Wasilla Middle and Wasilla High Schools," Pougher said.
That commute is one reason why borough and school officials say a new school had to be built in KGB, with voters approving the $65 million project. The school, named in honor of legendary musher Joe Redington Sr., is scheduled to be finished in 2015 -- but there are plans to add on another elementary and a high school in the same area.
"This is really going to give some much needed relief to those schools," said Gene Stone, the Mat-Su Borough School District's assistant superintendent.
Stone says the relief will go beyond the classroom.
"We just assume that there will be more that will come and as the years go on, we are just going to see more and more growth this way," Stone said. "We've been growing westward and Knik-Fairview -- with this school, perhaps, maybe it will encourage more growth heading to Point MacKenzie."