Wednesday, 02 May 2012 07:17

Portable classrooms will serve students until Arrowwood school is restored

Written by  Palliser Regional Schools
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Arrowwood School was severely damaged by fire recently. Students will soon move into portable classrooms. Arrowwood School was severely damaged by fire recently. Students will soon move into portable classrooms. Photo submitted by Palliser Regional Schools

Several portable classrooms being donated by Calgary Catholic School District will provide a temporary home to students and staff of Arrowwood Community School until their fire-damaged building is restored.

Palliser Regional Schools Superintendent Kevin Gietz credited Calgary Catholic’s generosity and Alberta Education for its liaison work for facilitating a longer-term solution for students displaced by arson April 20.
The relocation of the portables from Calgary to Arrowwood began Monday. Work on connecting services followed. Gietz said he hopes students will be in the classroom space within two weeks.
“The portables will be set up on the school property so students will be back to something a bit more familiar,” said Gietz. “They’ll have access to their playground and their field and back in actual classrooms.
Since April 25, students have been holding classes in the Arrowwood Community Centre.
From the portable classrooms, students will have a view of the construction and restoration work on their school building.
A structural engineer inspected the damages at the school and determined the building held up reasonably well in the fire. Although smoke and heat damage was extensive, the building can be saved.
In addition to Calgary Catholic’s gift, Palliser and Arrowwood school have been on the receiving end of donations of goods and time from all across southern Alberta. The arrival of everything from crayons and pencils to textbooks and desks made it possible for students to resume their studies just four days after vandalism and arson closed their school building.
“We always talk about the school being the heart of the community, and in Arrowwood, this is especially true,” Gietz said. “I can’t say enough about the support being shown to our staff and students in Arrowwood.”
Insurance will eventually replace school equipment and resources, said Gietz, but the donations immediately after the fire made a world of difference to how quickly Arrowwood staff and students were able to get back to work and to the comfort of a routine.
Gietz said the fire destroyed the offices near the entrance to the school, and heat and smoke damage was extensive throughout. It appears none of the contents from the building can be salvaged. The preliminary estimate is a $5-million price tag to the structure, contents and relocation effort.
No one was injured in the fire. The investigation is being handled by Gleichen RCMP and provincial fire investigators. A 20-year-old man faces multiple charges of arson and mischief.
Arrowwood Community School is located in the Village of Arrowwood, population of about 190. The community is about 50 kilometres northeast of Vulcan. About 80 students attend the school from grades 1 to 9.

Read 1739 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 07:22

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