Recovery work hastened by extraordinary team effort


Two Queensland schools are recovering following significant fires which saw the destruction of valuable school facilities. 

Despite losing precious learning spaces, equipment and school history, Upper Mount Gravatt State School and Warwick East State School remain open following the school recovery efforts of their respective communities, contractors and the Queensland Government.

The goal of all school fire recovery efforts is to ensure that teachers are back teaching, and students are back learning as quickly as possible in a safe environment.

For Upper Mount Gravatt State School, a suspicious fire on the evening of Friday 14 June 2019 saw the destruction of 8 classrooms as part of E Block, affecting more than a third of the school’s 500 students from Prep to Year 4.

Recovery teams took only 3 days to clear the site, and bring in new temporary buildings to ensure that the school was ready to safely reopen the following Tuesday 18 June 2019.

School principal Derek Brady said the community was forever grateful for the incredible support and assistance received throughout the rebuild process.

“The sense of comradery between the community, members of the department, trades people and contractors was beyond what I could have imagined when I set up the school’s disaster management plan,” said Mr Brady

“We truly never felt alone or overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done because the progress and communication was so clear and constant.

“This experience has taught our staff and students so much about the resolve and strength of the people we surround ourselves with, and about embracing change when it unexpectedly comes your way.”

Warwick East State School had a similar experience with the school evacuated on the afternoon of Friday 19 July 2019 when a fire destroyed A Block, a heritage building with 2 flexible learning spaces, a computer lab and school administration office.

Recovery crews worked through the weekend, day and night, to complete the required construction activity, demolition, clearing and landscaping to ensure that everything was ready Monday morning for a normal school day.

Successful school recovery efforts are made possible by community support and significant intergovernmental agency cooperation and coordination between the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Public Works and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, along with the outstanding support of the supplier Fleetwood who activated resources, people and material, as soon as they were contacted to assist in the recovery, the police and emergency services.

The works undertaken at Upper Mount Gravatt State School and Warwick East State School are shining examples of how the efforts of great people coming together with a common purpose can make magic happen.

Upper Mount Gravatt State School

Warwick East State School

Last updated 13 November 2020