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Photos from inside earthquake-damaged schools in Southcentral Alaska

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: December 12, 2018
  • Published December 3, 2018

Earthquake-damaged classroom at Houston Middle School on Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Days later, school districts in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough are still assessing and repairing the damage wrought by Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

Schools in Anchorage were closed for the week, with Eagle River Elementary deemed unsafe to enter and not likely to reopen for the rest of the school year. The weeklong closure created an immediate child care emergency for ASD families, with some child care centers still shuttered due to quake damage.

In Mat-Su, the damage to Houston Middle School was so severe that officials said it wouldn’t reopen for the rest of this school yearor next. There, broken ceiling tiles littered the floor, and cinder blocks crumbled in hallways lined with lockers.

State seismologist Mike West said Friday’s earthquake was the “most significant” to strike Anchorage since the 1964 quake, based on its widespread damage and violent jolting.

As students, teachers and staff quickly evacuated schools after the quake, many left their belongings in place. The day after the earthquake, at one Hanshew Middle School classroom, multicolored books and binders lay on desks, ready to be opened for a day of learning.

All that was missing were the students.

Here’s a look inside Southcentral Alaska’s earthquake-damaged schools, some of which fared better than others.

Eagle River Elementary School was heavily damaged in the Nov. 30, 2018 7.0 earthquake. Photographed Dec. 4, 2018. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Sen. Dan Sullivan and ASD's Thomas Fenoseff tour the gym at Eagle River Elementary School on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The school was badly damaged in Friday's 7.0 earthquake, and will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Food for breakfast sits abandoned at Eagle River Elementary School on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. School was about to begin on Friday when a 7.0 earthquake struck, damaging the school so severely that officials decided to move students to different buildings for the rest of the year. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Damaged non-structural concrete siding at Gruening Middle School on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Parts of the school have not been inspected after Friday's 7.0 earthquake, and officials are waiting for the results of those inspections before making a determination about whether to open the school next week. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Books were shaken off the shelves in the library at the earthquake damaged Houston Middle School. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Cleanup and repair work at Bartlett High School on Sunday as a result of Friday's 7.0 earthquake. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Parts of light fixtures and ceiling tiles came to rest on a hallway floor at Houston Middle School during the 7.0 earthquake. (Bill Roth / ADN)
The entryway at Hanshew Middle School was heavily damaged by water and falling lights and other objects. (Anne Raup / ADN)
Students left everything on their desks at Hanshew Middle School, when the 7.0 earthquake forced their quick evacuation. (Anne Raup / ADN)
Ceilings in some classrooms at Hanshew Middle School failed during the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Anne Raup / ADN)
Damage is shown to the library at Chugiak High School following earthquakes Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Text books rest on the floor as cleanup and repair work continued at Bartlett High School on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)
A teacher's desk at Bartlett High School is covered in debris after Friday's 7.0 earthquake. (Bill Roth / ADN)