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houston middle mat-su

Earthquake-damaged middle school in Alaska is being demolished

Dec. 9, 2020
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough District had hoped to repair Houston Middle School in Big Lake, but the damage from a 2018 earthquake was too severe to overcome.

Houston Middle School in Big Lake, Alaska, is being torn down after sustaining significant damage in a 2018 earthquake.

KTUU-TV reports that the school building in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District was condemned after an architectural inspection found substantial damage caused by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake..

“Classrooms were destroyed, foundations were cracked, walls were cracked,” says Principal Ben Howard. “So we couldn’t go back to school after what happened with the earthquake.”

Earlier, the school board had approved plans to rebuild parts of the school like the gym and the administrative wing, but another inspection found catastrophic damage.

Repairing the building, which was constructed in 1985, would bring it only 60% up to code, officials said. built in 1985 and was more than a school; it was a gathering place for the community.

Demolition should take about 30 days, according to Howard. Then crews will start the process of rebuilding the school.

The estimated cost of tearing down and replacing the building is about $35 million. It is expected to be ready for students by the fall of 2022.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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