Gruening Middle School won't reopen this year; students to move to Chugiak High

Gruening Middle School was badly damaged in the earthquake. (KTUU)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Update 2:25 p.m.: Gruening Middle School in Eagle River will need such extensive repairs after this past week's earthquake that students will not return to the building this school year, ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop said Wednesday afternoon.

Bishop said the steel structure is sound, but the school needs such extensive repairs that the work can't be completed while students attend.

Gruening students will instead attend their regular classes at Chugiak High School, Bishop said. They'll start one day later than other students in the district, on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Teachers and staff from Gruening will all move to Chugiak High School for the duration of the school year as well. The District's Chief Operating Officer Tom Roth says Chugiak High School was able to make way for 17 classrooms for Gruening students and staff.

Roth says students who ride the bus to Gruening will ride the same bus at the same time each day but will be taken to Chugiak. Students who currently walk to Gruening will be picked up at the Gruening Middle School parking lot at 7:40 a.m. to be bused to Chugiak.

Students from Eagle River Elementary, another school needing extensive repairs, are scheduled to start school at two different area elementary schools, Birchwood and Homestead, on Monday.

This is a developing story.

Original Story:
Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Southcentral Alaska last week, area schools were shut down due to damage and the need for proper inspections. Now, almost a week later, students and teachers will return to varying degrees.

For ASD students, school won't begin again until Monday, Dec. 10, but teachers and staff at many schools in the district will return back to facilities on Wednesday after a green light was granted, despite there are being no students for them to teach this week.

The status of individual ASD schools can be found in a district spreadsheet located on its website.

What it means for green-lit schools, according to Morgan Duclos, a representative of ASD, is that the schools are "safe to go inside, not instructional ready, just cleared as safe, no issues of water leaks or gas leaks. They're safe to go in."

Duclos said that teachers returning to green schools Wednesday will meet with principals and administration, who will be deciding what is expected of the teachers in absence of students.

"The first day back expectation is that there isn't going to be a clean up," Duclos said. "Just a retrieval of personal belongings left at schools." In addition to teachers getting their belongings, Duclos said students may be allowed to get their items left behind following the quake as well, while being escorted back to their classrooms.

While it's possible for schools falling under the "yellow" classification to turn "red," those schools which are "green" are not thought to have any major issues at this point.

For UAA, students actually will return, and along with faculty and staff, class begins again Wednesday. The Anchorage campus for UAA open, the Chugiak-Eagle River building will remain closed. UAA said classes normally held there will still resume, but in alternative locations.

UAA sent KTUU photos of damage done to classrooms on campus, which can be viewed in the gallery below.


Unshelved books and damage in the UAA Consortium Library immediately following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.


 
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