Borough paves way to demolish Alaska school after earthquake


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly in Alaska has declared a middle school damaged by an earthquake to be a fire and health hazard, paving the way for potential demolition.

The Tuesday announcement came after workers hired by the borough found that Houston Middle School in the Anchorage suburb of Big Lake was far more damaged than officials had initially thought. The building suffered substantial damage after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in November 2018.

The school district had previously passed a resolution to repair parts of the school and replace others, but the newly discovered damage made demolishing the facility the less risky option.

“It is in the best interest, the safety, the health of everyone surrounding Huston Middle School — be it inside the school as students, faculty or parents, or even the construction workers — to start from

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As the school year begins, Alaska school administrators worry low enrollment could impact state funding

Anchorage teacher Kelly Shrein welcomes 5th grade students to a live zoom session on the first day of school at Northwood Elementary in West Anchorage on August 20, 2020. Shrein says she was up until 11pm the night before responding to parents questions. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)

Between online learning and in-person classes, students throughout Alaska are back in school.

And with many families opting out of their regular schools, administrators are concerned about low enrollment and the reduced state funding that could follow.

It may be up to lawmakers to come up with a solution.

This school year is off to an unprecedented start, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt normal operations.

Whether students are back in the classroom depends on where they live and what families are comfortable with. And many aren’t yet sure what that means.

“Parents are just uncertain or unsure of how this school

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