Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
New classrooms to rise from the ashes at Powerstock School
Powerstock School is celebrating being given the green light to build an extra classroom in its fire-hit Victorian building.
More than half the pupils wrote to West Dorset District Council planners urging them to approve the £250,000 project, which will see a new classroom in the roof and a two-storey extension.
A ‘temporary’ 1970s classroom will be removed.
It is hoped work on the rebuilding project will begin in the next four to five weeks.
Headteacher Jean-Paul Draper praised the amazing level of support shown to the school since fire ripped through the main Grade II-listed building during the October half-term in 2011.
He said: “We will be back in the new building for September.
“I want to thank all the people who helped and gave us support.
“All the children in Key Stage 2 formally wrote to West Dorset District Council saying how they were excited about the chance to have solar panels on the roof.
“The chance to get rid of the mobile classroom and having the whole school back in one building which, of course, hasn’t happened for many years.”
Mr Draper said that although the blaze was a catastrophe, the response had reinforced how much people cared about the school.
He added: “We have had donations from here, there and everywhere.”
He said he was hoping to get as many people from the community as possible involved in the reopening. The blaze destroyed the main school room building, which dates back to 1848 although some of it dates back to the 16th century – with some features taken from a medieval church in West Milton.
The proposals also include alterations to the existing toilets and a new two-storey rear extension would replace a single storey lean-to.
ELECTRICAL FAULT WAS BLAMED FOR INFERNO
THE fire that destroyed the main Victorian building started in the early hours of October 24, 2011.
It is believed to have begun with an electrical fault.
Crews saved the school’s computer server in a nearby extension but nothing could be done for the main building.
The operation was hampered by a lack of fire hydrants in the village.
Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, visited the school a month after the fire to deliver the message ‘opportunity out of disaster’.