Some Mat-Su schools suffered major damage during New Year’s windstorm

A large highway sign knocked over and blown into the woods
High winds in Palmer blew over an exit sign off the Glenn Highway. Colony Middle School in Palmer suffered significant damage to its roof. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Schools in the Mat-Su suffered significant damage from the New Year’s windstorm and associated power outages.

All schools in the Matanuska-Susitna District are back in session this week following the multi-day windstorm that ripped through the area last week. But according to Superintendent Dr. Randy Trani, multiple schools in the lower valley incurred major damage — mostly in the form of broken windows, frozen pipes and damaged roofs.

Trani says fire suppression systems were also hit hard, and some schools experienced significant flooding. To help with the extensive repairs, the borough even went outside the school system for help.

“Our facilities folks have been, and still are, working around the clock. Over the weekend we employed twelve plumbers to try to get things up and running. We have one plumber on staff, so a twelve-fold increase,” he said. “There is a lot of damage in a lot of different places.”

On Jan. 3, Gov. Mike Dunleavy officially declared the Mat-Su Borough a disaster area. That designation will open avenues for state assistance to help the school district pay for repairs that insurance doesn’t cover.

Colony Middle School in Palmer and Wasilla Middle School are suspected to have suffered significant roof damage, though the extent of that damage is still unknown. Continued high winds have prevented the district from fully assessing the situation.

According to Trani, the northern schools in the district did not suffer any material damage.

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications