As Mt Lawley Primary School children walked up a ramp adorned with blue and white balloons and into their temporary school this morning, their faces lit up with excitement.
For most, it was the first time they had seen their new classrooms, built on a soccer pitch at Mt Lawley Senior High School after a fire destroyed 85 per cent of their historic school two weeks ago.
“Wow!” was the common reaction from students as principal Don Barba personally welcomed them back to school for the first day of term.
During the past fortnight, tradesmen have worked long hours and through the weekend to relocate and fit out 15 transportable classrooms, four toilet blocks, an administration area, offices and storage.
Concrete walkways line the classrooms which are grouped around a green central courtyard.
The interim school will accommodate nearly 500 students until the old school is rebuilt in 2014.
New welcome signs bearing the school crest feature a drawing of Mr Barba at the former school surrounded by students, by Year 3 student Max Hearse, 8, and the words “we will rebuild it together”.
Next to it is another sign, with the school’s new motto, “together we can”.
Max’s mother, Melanie Hearse, said he had done the drawing the morning after the fire for her to give to Mr Barba at an emergency meeting for parents and students.
“He basically did it because he was mostly worried that Barba would be so upset, because he knows how much he loves the school,” she said.
Year 7 student Drew Hosa, 12, said things felt a bit different, but they would get used to it.
Parent Sally Cherry said the children were incredibly excited about coming to school this morning.
“It’s a new beginning,” she said. “I think they’ve really enjoyed seeing all the parents and all the teachers come together and achieve so much, and it’s incredible what can be done in two weeks.”
Education Minister Peter Collier told assembled parents, staff and students it had been important to keep all the students together on one site. He found it difficult to believe how quickly the temporary school had been built.
“The flames will never take away the soul of Mt Lawley Primary School,” he said.