The libraries at five Anchorage elementary schools will close amid concerns about heavy snow loads on roofs, the school district told families in a message Monday evening.
“There is no risk of catastrophic collapse,” the district said in a letter Monday. “There is a risk of ceiling pieces coming down.”
As a result, the district is closing libraries at Fire Lake, Bear Valley, Spring Hill, Klatt and Ravenwood elementary schools.
Two of the schools, Spring Hill and Klatt, showed ceiling cracks following inspections over the weekend, the district said. The district said there was no sign of damage outside the libraries.
All five schools were built with similar designs in the 1980s, so the district is also closing libraries at Bear Valley Elementary, Fire Lake Elementary, and Ravenwood Elementary “out of an abundance of caution,” the district said in its message.
The school district said it will close the libraries until it finishes an engineering assessment on the ceilings.
The district said it assessed roofs with engineers after a series of major snowfalls in December. That survey showed no issues, the district said, but it started removing snow from buildings and conducting regular inspections.
Following a winter of high snow totals, multiple roofs on commercial buildings in Anchorage have collapsed recently, including one off Dowling Road on Sunday and another downtown on Saturday.
Also, a library in Palmer and a CrossFit gym in South Anchorage both saw roofs collapse last month. A woman was killed and two people were trapped in the Turnagain CrossFit gym roof collapse. In December, two Soldotna building roofs collapsed after significant snows.