Seddon School back on solid ground
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.
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.