Some of the students at Lacombe Composite High School will start returning the school by early next week.
The school was closed to its 800 students on Monday after a fire started on the building’s roof, causing water and smoke damage.
Larry Jacobs, superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools, said the first priority will be to have diploma-writing students return, followed by the other grades. High school staff met at the school division’s head office on Wednesday to work out plans and priorities for re-opening the school.
Jacobs said they hope to have students start returning as early as Monday, but it will depend on how many rooms can be opened by that point. He said under very tight circumstances the school division could open the school to diploma students with just eight rooms available. But he said once the west wing of the school — which was the least affected by the fire — is cleaned and opened up it could mean there could be from 15 to 20 classrooms for students.
Jacobs said an automated dialing message will go out to parents to notify them before the high school re-opens. Updates will also be posted to the school division website at www.wolfcreek.ab.ca.
Jacobs was in the building late in the day on Wednesday. He said there are around 100 people currently working on cleaning up the building. The crews are using air scrubbers, dehumidifiers and various air quality instruments. “It’s starting to look quite good in there,” Jacobs said.
The cost of the damage still isn’t known and won’t be until crews can more thoroughly inspect the infrastructure, Jacobs explained..
Lacombe Composite High School had just undergone three years of modernization and renovation work at a cost of $20 million.
“Your heart just sinks because of all the work. We’ve had staff who have gone through the modernization for three years and then to have this happen,” Jacobs said. “I was talking to some of the staff a few minutes ago and they’re such a positive group. They’re working the hardest they possibly can to put this all back together.”