Holiday cleanup on way for teachers

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 13:00 23/04/2013

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Schoolgrounds and buildings damaged in the Richmond deluge should be dry before students return.

Several Richmond and Stoke schools suffered minor water damage during the weekend storm, but fortunately the two-week school holiday should allow time for cleanups and repairs before students return.

Henley School principal John Armstrong flew from Christchurch to Nelson yesterday, returning to help his staff clean up the mess left by the flash flood.

Four classrooms and the library had been damaged in the flooding, he said.

The $759,000 library and learning centre was identified as a "leaky building" in 2011, and the latest downpour "hasn't helped" that problem, Mr Armstrong said.

He had spoken to a caretaker on site who said water came into the school through its Gilbert St entrance, running through the playground and classrooms at the end of each block.

"It was just the volume of water, I suppose."

Carpets were wet and anything that was on the floor in those buildings had been destroyed.

"We will just get a group of us together and get it fixed up as soon as we can, and put in an insurance claim.

"It's really just having people on the ground.

"We will try to rally around as many staff as possible, and get half a dozen community Corrections workers to help out around the playground area."

The cleanup would mostly involve drying out things and throwing away anything that's been damaged, with the main cost being "time and labour", he said.

Almost every learning space at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia te Matangi in Richmond had been soaked in water, principal Merita Waitoa-Paki said.

She contacted the Ministry of Education, whose representatives arrived at the school just 30 minutes after being called. However, high demand for commercial pumps meant the school was waiting for an operator to come from Blenheim before they could remove water from the classrooms.

"The longer it sits there, the worse it will get," Ms Waitoa-Paki said.

Waimea College's music and performing arts department suffered some water damage, destroying costumes and sheet music that had been on the floor, but it was "not too bad", head of department Melanie Stewart said.

The principal and other staff had visited the campus to survey damage yesterday morning.

A spokesman at Salisbury School said flood waters had receded after a "great deal" of water flowed through the campus on Sunday night.

There was no serious damage at the school, just sodden grounds, the spokesman said.

Nayland College principal Rex Smith said his school "got away relatively lightly" during the deluge, with only "bits of water" leaking into some buildings, causing minor damage.

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- The Nelson Mail

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