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Gruening Middle School celebrates repaired building after 2018 earthquake forced its closure

An outside view of Ernest Gruening Middle School taken on Oct. 14, 2021 in Eagle River, Alaska.
An outside view of Ernest Gruening Middle School taken on Oct. 14, 2021 in Eagle River, Alaska.(Connor Matteson)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Cars lined the street Thursday afternoon in Eagle River at Gruening Middle School for a celebration of the newly repaired and remodeled school.

After the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 2018 damaged the middle school’s building, the students were sent to Chugiak High School until the middle school was ready to reopen.

The initial damage the earthquake caused to the school was estimated at $10.7 million, and additional upgrades put the final price tag at $39.3 million.

Student were able to return to the school building back at the beginning of the fall semester. It was treated to security, seismic, and educational enhancements.

On Thursday, Principal Bobby Jefts was ready to show off the building to the public.

“It’s just been amazing to be back on our campus, it’s just great to be home and just the sense of we’re finally in our community, the Gruening community, and everybody’s excited,” Jefts said. “The kids are excited, the staff, it’s just great to be home.”

The school isn’t quite finished yet — they still have a few more little things to do before it’s completely done.

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