Following a devastating fire at Southport State High School on Friday 4 October 2019 few could have imagined the school reopening for the start of the final school term, 4 days later.
The blaze destroyed Block B, reducing the heritage-listed site to ash and rubble in a matter of minutes. The two-storey building contained 9 classrooms which were destroyed including computer laboratories, a staff room, amenities and the special education department.
Recovery crews worked day and night, through a long weekend, to complete the required construction activity, demolition, clearing and landscaping to ensure the school would be safe and ready for more than 1,800 students on Tuesday 8 October 2019.
The new buildings have air-conditioning, plumbing, power, internet and other technologies, and are likely to remain on school grounds for up to 2 years before a permanent replacement for the lost building can be put in place.
The former Block B building has been levelled to the slab and will remain untouched until the end of year school holiday period.
School Executive Principal Nigel Hughes said the community was overwhelmed by the incredible support provided by the recovery crews.
'The teams involved pulled off nothing short of a miracle to ensure our students, staff and families weren't affected by this unfortunate fire,' Mr Hughes said.
'The silver lining in a really tragic turn of events is that our students and teachers have gained access to some fantastic new facilities, and seen first-hand that a community can pull together when needed.'
The Southport State High School fire is one of the largest school fire recovery efforts executed in Queensland.
The effort was made particularly more challenging by the public holiday, with special permissions needing to be granted to allow heavy vehicles with large loads to deliver new facilities to the school.
The combined efforts of the community, as well as significant intergovernmental agency coordination including the Department of Education, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, the Department of Housing and Public Works, Fleetwood and QBuild saw more than 100 people join the emergency recovery team.