Seven temporary classrooms donated for students living in flood-ravaged Lismore has ironically provided the stability they so desperately need.
Three months after devastating rains lashed the Northern Rivers, Trinity Catholic College students will be able to return to traditional learning in the state-of-the-art demountables provided by Sydney Catholic Schools.
Regarded as an “absolute Godsend”, the classrooms – comprising four science labs and three general learning areas – will provide some certainty in a community still scarred by the big wet.
Almost 900 students have relocated to neighbouring sites while contractors clean the massive mould outbreaks following the February and March deluges.
“Some of the things the community have witnessed has been and is still incredibly tough, so having the seven new learning areas has helped give some much-need hope.”
Trinity Principal Mr Jesse Smith said the “new” classrooms would enable almost 550 year 7 to 10 students to return to some sort of “normal” learning environment, while its Year 11 and 12 students would remain offsite at the neighbouring Woodlawn College.
He said that while the future location of the school is in question, the immediate return of the students was now assured.
Assessors are currently investigating whether the school will be rebuilt on the existing site in a “skyscraper” model or moved to higher ground.
Mr Smith said unfortunately it’s not as simple as ripping out carpets, significant restoration work needs to be done and then a more permanent decision made on the school’s location.
He said the donation by Sydney Catholic Schools would allow the junior school to come together as one community and give some hope of a return to normality.
“People are still doing it incredibly tough up here, you just have to see the reaction when it starts to rain and people automatically go straight to high alert,” he said.
“We have had more than 60 families, both students and teachers, who have lost their homes and everything in it, while others were rescued and plucked off roofs by helicopters or by boats.
“Some of the things the community have witnessed has been and is still incredibly tough, so having the seven new learning areas has helped give some much-needed hope.
“My faith has been the ultimate sustaining force throughout it all and we are so grateful to Sydney Catholic Schools for their support which guarantees the viability of close to 550 Year 7 to 10 students’ education.
“The relocation by road of the seven demountables from St Patrick’s College Sutherland to Lismore proved a logistical challenge involving more than 50 trucks …”
“Thank you rolls off the tongue very easily but for us it has an enormous amount of meaning behind it given the situation we are in.”
The relocation by road of the seven demountables from St Patrick’s College Sutherland to Lismore proved a logistical challenge involving more than 50 trucks but one Sydney Catholic Schools was happy to achieve.
Executive director Tony Farley said as a community it was thrilled to be able to assist those in Lismore following the devastating weather.
“Many of our schools ran initiatives to support the students and teachers of Lismore, the donation of seven demountables from St Patrick’s College Sutherland was just one practical way we felt we could help to rebuild the community following the devastating floods.”