The West

Huge effort: Waggrakine Primary School principal Lis Turner with Geoff Jones of Champion Bay Electrical, whose efforts Ms Turner said were instrumental in having the school open for business on Monday.
Fire ignites community spirit

Waggrakine Primary School’s community has banded together in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed the school’s administration building at the weekend.

Parents Sharon Williamson and Melissa Wallingford were at the school on Monday morning to offer their support.

“We’ll be here all day to help out in any way we can,” Ms Wallingford said.

Fellow parent Ms Williamson remained in good spirits and said there were positives to come out of the tragedy.

“It could have been far worse, thank goodness no kids or teachers were hurt,” she said.

“We’re a very close-knit community of parents and families and we will rebuild.

“It was such a shock and sure, we could’ve just stopped, but we’ll come together and we’ll keep going — life carries on.”

Ms Wallingford said her family was deeply saddened by the scene of devastation when they drove past the school on Saturday.

“The kids started crying, it was so upsetting for them,” she said.

“To think that someone would deliberately light the fire is just wrong.”

School principal Lis Turner praised Geoff Jones of Champion Bay Electrical, who ensured the school buildings were safe for students.

“He was here at 2am on Saturday and worked right through the weekend, It was a wonderful effort,” she said.

A temporary administration hub in the school library was a hive of activity on Monday morning as classes went ahead as normal.

Staff sifted through remains to determine what the school needed to continue operating and avoid disruption to students.

A closed facebook page is being used by the school to communicate up-to-date information to parents.

Ms Turner said support from the wider community had been fantastic, with offers from other Geraldton schools and principals.

She said the Mid West Education Regional Office and Education Department in Perth had been very busy and assessors were expected to survey the extent of damage this week.

It is anticipated the damage bill could be as high as $800,000.

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