Calling it "an amazing cornerstone for an amazing community," former Assembly Member Tom Kluberton addressed some 90 residents, mostly from the Upper Susitna Valley, who turned out to celebrate the new Susitna Valley Jr./Sr. High School Monday (Jan.11) near Talkeetna.
The same day in the MAT-SU, 80 mph gusts were lashing most parts of the Borough, tearing off roof tiles, knocking down an electric line onto a vehicle and street lights onto parking lots, uprooting trees, flipping a plane. Winds weren't so fierce here, but emotions ran deep as memories of fire and loss and perservance began to join the past inside an impressive $24 million school.
The new school replaces one that burned in 2007. Students have been taking classes across the Parks Highway at the Upper Susitna Senior Center.
Former Assembly Member Tom Kluberton gave this passionate look forward. Click player to hear Tom Kluberton on Su Valley
MAT-SU School Board President Colleen Vague nodded to the quick-thinking of parents and staff on how to keep their students together. Click player to listen to President Colleen Vague on Su Valley.
MAT-SU Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter described how the school is the center of the Upper Susitna Community. Click player to listen to Vern Halter on Su Valley.
Su Valley High Principal Robert Picou made light of the snow pants he worked in for a year given his cool room and an unseen thermostat. Picou opened the ceremony with a hearty round of applause for the new day at Su Valley High. Click player to listen to Rob Picou on Su Valley.
MAT-SU Borough Manager John Duffy highlighted the achievement of yet another LEED school in the MAT-SU Borough, the first LEED high school in the state of Alaska. LEED is leadership in Energy & Environmental Design or adopted standards which make a building environmentally sustainable. Click player to listen to Borough Manager John Duffy on Su Valley.
Su Valley Student Body President Jens Timmers gave insight to life in the portables. Listen to Jens by clicking player.
PTA President Deb Maynard called life in the new school "amazing." She thanked key people who helped make it so.
Collins Construction and McCool Carlson Green architects built the school. It was completed ahead of schedule. Local materials were incorporated such as cottonwood in the ceiling, and birch in the benches, and stone from Chugiak in the symbolic hearth. Local artists also added a fine touch. Robert Scott and Bob Bechtold were project managers for the Borough.
Photos by Patty Sullivan/MSB. Pictured in ribbon cutting: L to R. Superintendent of Education Deena Paramo, School Board President Colleen Vague, Borough Deputy Mayor Lynne Woods, Borough Manager John Duffy, former Borough Assembly Member Tom Kluberton, Su Valley Student Government President Jens Timmers, State Sen. Charlie Huggins, School Superintendent George Troxel, State Sen. Linda Menard, and Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter.
Pictured right: Student Government President Jens Timmers.