ALBURY High School faces a damage bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars after a fire destroyed the school’s administration offices early yesterday.
The fire closed the school yesterday, but students will return to classes today in those parts of the school that escaped damage from fire and smoke.
The blaze broke out in a small room containing computer servers and spread to the ground- floor administration area soon after 1am.
Three NSW Fire and Rescue tankers attended the scene and quick work from firefighters stopped the flames spreading in the building that dates from 1928.
The fire destroyed office equipment, the computer servers and administrative paperwork.
Student and school records were not affected — they are kept in an archive room in another part of the school.
Fire officers were yesterday investigating whether an electrical fault caused the blaze and confirmed the cause of the fire did not appear to be suspicious.
“There’s extensive damage inside the building, so the repair work and replacement of the damaged equipment in there will probably cost several hundred thousand dollars,” Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Stewart Alexander said.
“The fire was controlled within 30 minutes and firefighters were there for a couple of hours mopping up and investigating.”
Albury High principal Darryl Ward said he had been woken by a call from security guards who told him there was a fire at the school.
“It was a bit of a shock and obviously I was concerned for the buildings,” he said.
“I raced down there to have a look and met the firefighters and police.
“They confirmed it was not suspicious.”
Mr Ward said the administration area would need to be rebuilt.
“We will reopen as normal as possible,” he said.
“There is some smoke damage to classrooms in the A-block which will need to be cleaned before students can use the rooms.”
Mr Ward said students would receive a new timetable of classrooms and administration staff would be temporarily housed in the languages room.
He said the walls and corridors of the building had been extensively damaged by smoke and electricity had to be cut, due to the damage to the computer servers.
However, Mr Ward said the school’s memorabilia, including historical photographs and honour boards, were not damaged.
“I want to thank the community for its support and the assistance of the firefighters and police,” he said. “Everyone has just been so great and supportive.”
While the power outage and lack of heating forced the school to cancel yesterday’s classes, a year 7 tree-planting trip to Lake Hume and a netball gala at JC King Park both went ahead as planned.