Blaze-hit school can celebrate at last

Published: 20th Sep 2007

Please note this is an archived Press Release

A SCHOOL is celebrating the start of a new era with the official reopening of its nursery and Local Learning Centre on Friday, September 21 after a devastating arson attack 18 months ago.

Dormanstown Primary School headteacher Anne Johnson praised the community for their efforts in rallying round following the blaze in February, 2006 which caused £80,000 worth of damage to equipment and forced the nursery's closure and move into a nearby classroom.

The memories of the fire were brought vividly back to life for Mrs Johnson this week when she saw the damage caused by another arson attack at St Peter's Catholic College of Maths and Computing at South Bank.

She said: "When I saw the TV pictures I could still smell our fire, it brought it back so vividly. We're upbeat and delighted about tomorrow, but it just shows how long it takes to put things back in place.

"We now have a fantastic foundation stage and our parents have been with us all the way, supporting the school. That's why I have enormous sympathy for the South Bank community and the teachers - we know what devastation and distress they are going through."

The £210,000 refurbishment programme was completed in time for the children to move into their new surroundings earlier this year and now the second phase of the recovery is complete.

For the arson attack also forced the Local Learning Centre to move out of its adjoining space. Now, after work costing £40,000, the Centre will reopen its doors on Monday, September 24, proudly displaying its new facilities for adult learners, including a suite with 15 computers.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council Leader Councillor George Dunning said: "It has been a tremendous effort by many people to turn the school around after such a devastating fire. After the dark days of the fire, the school's future looks very bright indeed."

The Council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Ian Jeffrey said: "This promises to be a wonderful day after all the trauma, and now we can look ahead to really building on this success to extend learning opportunities within the local community."

Redcar MP Vera Baird, who will officially reopen the nursery and Local Learning Centre, said: "There is no finer investment in education - and these two marvellous facilities show that Redcar & Cleveland is determined to be a learning borough for all ages."

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