SITKA — Students at Sitka’s Pacific High School are starting the new year with a new school.
For two years, Pacific High operated out of the Southeast Alaska Career Center while its new building was being built.
The site where the new school sits has been dedicated to education for more than a century and has gone through a number of incarnations. The original was an Alaska Native training school that had one room and was segregated.
“There’s a lot of history on this site, and we’re just the latest and hopefully greatest iteration of what has gone on here,” co-principal Phil Burdick told KCAW.
Burdick said the new school has a great rotunda with a lot of light. He said each classroom also has a door to the outside, which he said ties into the school’s model that learning happens in the community.
“So, everyone has an opportunity to get out, everyone has an opportunity to get messy, everyone has an opportunity to find a quiet space, everyone has an opportunity to learn in the way that suits them best,” he said.
English and health teacher Mandy Summer said the space is a luxury. At the career center, teachers had to share classrooms. She said there are other benefits, too. The old building, for example, had moldy tiles and a leaky ceiling.