Halifax: Elementary school that lost classrooms in fire to be rebuilt

Halifax: Elementary school that lost classrooms in fire to be rebuilt
Halifax: Elementary school that lost classrooms in fire to be rebuilt

Image caption, All four KS2 classrooms lost in the fire at Ash Green Primary School have been rebuilt

A primary school partially destroyed by arson has been rebuilt.

Staff at Ash Green Primary in Mixenden, near Halifax, said the school would ‘rise from the ashes’ after the fire on February 1, 2022.

All four classrooms at Key Stage Two were lost and other parts of the school grounds suffered smoke and water damage.

Headmaster Mungo Sheppard said the new space built to replace the lost classrooms is “better than we’ve ever had”.

Image caption, Headmaster Mungo Sheppard after fire ‘devastated’ Ash Green Primary School

After the fire, all the computers in the school had to be taken apart and cleaned. The students’ work was lost.

“It was horrible,” Mr. Sheppard recalls.

“Although the fire was catastrophic, we were very fortunate to have a great fire department that, together with the fire doors in the hallways, was able to keep the fire under control. Only part of the building was lost.”

He said “horror and fear” went through his mind as he watched the fire, wondering what parts of the school would survive and where the children would go the next day.

“It was just at the end of the Covid period and we had already faced many crises,” he added.

“The last two years have been a pretty quick tour of crisis management!”

Image caption, The fire destroyed the entire KS2 building at the time, including several classrooms and many assets and resources

While the damaged classrooms were out of use, the children were taught in rooms made available to the school by the local museum Eureka! and the Dean Clough Mills complex.

The students were away from the main school building for 29 months due to reconstruction.

Mr Sheppard added: “I would never wish that on our school, or any other school, ever again. But to be able to say this is our building and this is where we are going to learn and play, and that it is better than we have ever had, is a very good result.”

Arsonist Aaron Foster was jailed for life for starting the fire, which caused £4.5 million of damage to his primary school in October 2022. He had also previously set fire to Mixenden Library.