Seddon School back on solid ground

Kaikoura Star - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

It’s been a long time com­ing but 543 days af­ter it was dam­aged in an earth­quake, Seddon School is fi­nally dam­age free.

The mag­ni­tude 7.8 earth­quake in Novem­ber 2016 de­stroyed walls, shat­tered glass and closed the school for two days. The closeknit com­mu­nity is look­ing for­ward to a more ‘‘nor­mal’’ life now that the the last tools have been packed away.

The school has had to deal with con­sid­er­able upheaval dur­ing the re­pair work.

The staff room, li­brary, hall and some class­rooms have all been off lim­its since the quake but prin­ci­pal Ta­nia Pringle is proud of how her staff and pupils have adapted.

‘‘The com­mu­nity and the chil­dren have shown amaz­ing re­silience. We ap­pre­ci­ate what an en­cour­ag­ing com­mu­nity we have and the help and com­pas­sion that’s been shown to us.

‘‘There were times when I found my­self stand­ing in my cup­board to make calls as my of­fice was be­ing used as a staff room.

‘‘The staff have been amaz­ing ev­ery step of the way,’’ she says.

Pringle say she hopes the re­turn to ‘‘nor­mal’’ will help those still deal­ing with post-quake anx­i­ety is­sues.

‘‘It’s com­pletely un­der­stand­able. This is the new nor­mal and we still have strate­gies in place to help.

‘‘We haven’t evac­u­ated the school dur­ing an earth­quake since the chil­dren can do what makes them com­fort­able.

‘‘Some choose to work through and as long as the build­ing isn’t fall­ing around them then they can do that.

‘‘They [earth­quakes] are part of life here and we can’t stop them so we have to work around them and lessen their im­pact,’’ she says.

The re­build­ing process could not start un­til the end of last year as the school had been wait­ing for ap­proval from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Foun­da­tions needed to be strength­ened and the sec­tions of the roof have been re­placed.

The toi­lets also got an up­grade and all walls a fresh coat of paint as staff took the chance to com­bine some sched­uled main­te­nance work with the re­pairs to min­imise dis­rup­tion.

A crew from Scott Con­struc­tion has been work­ing hard at the school for the past six months.

But last week the scaf­fold­ing was taken down, the ship­ping con­tainer used for stor­age was picked up and safety bar­ri­ers re­moved.

Pringle says the school is ‘‘look­ing smarter than ever.’’

‘‘A big thank to the guys from Scott Con­struc­tion. They’ve been great to have on site.

‘‘At times there have been a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber ... builders, painters, drain­lay­ers and elec­tri­cians but the chil­dren car­ried on as if they weren’t here. It seems very quiet with­out them,’’ she says.

PAULA HULBURT/STUFF

Af­ter 543 days all re­pairs to Seddon School af­ter the Kaik­oura earth­quake are com­plete, giv­ing from left, prin­ci­pal Ta­nia Pringle, Ashleigh McEl­hin­ney, Indi Payne, Ben Camp­bell, Oliver Barker, Lo­gan Lis­saman, Harvey New­man and Maddy McNi­col cause to smile.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.