Miracle saves our school
WHILE it wasn't quite business as usual, it was still something of a miracle that students were able to return to classrooms that were under water less than 14 days ago.
It was only due to a massive clean up by volunteers and a careful rebuild by scores of tradesmen that Brassall State School could get back to something resembling its old self in time for the start of the 2011 school year yesterday.
In the short space of time that has passed since the floods, classrooms have been gutted, stripped and rebuilt, carpet ripped up and replaced and walls repainted.
Electricity and telephones have been reconnected and six new demountable buildings have been set up to make up for those temporarily lost due to flood damage.
Principal Peter Doyle was full of praise for all those who had contributed to the recovery effort.
“Let's focus on the positives here ... every child is in a classroom, every child has a desk – most of them with new desks and new chairs – and we've had six demountable buildings erected within a week,” Mr Doyle said.
“We've had hundreds and hundreds of volunteers – people have been very generous.”
Just about all of the classrooms have been restored, except for two, plus the music room which was badly damaged.
The school oval is still a gluggy mess and will remain out of bounds, giving more than 700 students at the school limited space to play. Another two demountable buildings were set up across the road at Ipswich State High School, where year 6 and 7 students from Brassall will begin their school year.
Mr Doyle said parents and students had coped extremely well with the enforced changes.
“They know what has happened, they know the school lost the lot and it's not quite the same as it was, but boys and girls are resilient creatures and they will work with us until everything is back to 100 per cent,” he said.
“The parents have been understanding and supportive.
“You can't go through the devastation this school has been through without some disruption.”
Suffering from loss of teaching materials, power and communications, teachers have also had a hard time preparing for the new school year.
Year five teacher Kylie Grice said the focus was on trying to get the kids back learning.
“It has been pretty difficult to get planning done but the kids have been good – I think they understand,” Ms Grice said.