Students and staff at Oonoonba State School will return to the classroom today, two months after the school was ravaged by the Townsville floods.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Education Minister Grace Grace and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke welcomed today’s re-opening on the last day of term one.
“Today is a special milestone for Oonoonba State School which was the hardest-hit state school from the floods,” the Premier said.
“I inspected the school with Minister Grace and Ms O’Rourke on February 12 and saw first-hand the significant damage done to majority of the facilities.
“It’s remarkable to think that just over eight weeks later, the school has been completely repaired.
“Five sandpits have been refilled, 135 doors have been repainted, carpets have been stripped and replaced, the multi-purpose courts have been resurfaced and much more.
“This is a wonderful achievement for the school and the wider Townsville community.”
The Premier praised the work of everyone involved in the clean-up.
“It’s been a mammoth effort to get this school up and running again, so I’d like to thank all those involved in the process, including local tradies, members of the ADF, staff, parents and the wider community,” she said.
“I’d also like to thank officers from the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Public Works, and the many others who helped.”
Ms Grace said the Department of Education acted quickly to implement temporary arrangements following the floods.
“My Department organised two alternative sites for the students and staff at Oonoonba in a “school within a school basis”,” Ms Grace said.
“Students from Prep to year 2 were relocated to Wulguru State School while students from years 3 to 6 have been based at William Ross State School.
“I’d like to thank these two schools for making the Oonoonba State School students feel welcome.”
Ms O’Rourke said she was looking forward to joining in on the school’s celebration today.
“The school community will unite this morning for a parade, sausage sizzle and the ringing of the old school bell, with parents invited to tour the fresh facilities before students return to class,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“This well-deserved celebration is a testament to the resilience of the people of Townsville and the amazing spirit of Oonoonba State School.
“I’m proud to be the local member for such a great school.”
Oonoonba State School principal Anne-Marie Day said the school was thrilled to be getting back to business.
“We are immensely grateful for the wonderful support of the local Townsville community and the broader Queensland community who have really rallied around us during this challenging time,” Ms Day said.
“I want to thank the staff, students and families of Wulguru State School and William Ross State High who welcomed us while our site was being cleaned up.
“A big thanks also to Departmental staff and officers from Building and Asset Services, who have worked incredibly hard to get us back up and running so quickly.”
More than $1.4 million has been paid to families from the Department of Education’s Flood Assistance Package to support the replacement of school resources for almost 10,000 students.
A further $195,000 has been paid to more than 250 state school staff members to replace work-related resources.