The industrial arts section of Yass High School burnt to the ground in the early hours of this morning.
Early indications are that it has caused more than $1 million damage to the school, destroying areas used to teach woodworking, cooking and textiles, said Captain Allan Carey.
It was too early to ascertain the cause of the blaze or whether it was suspicious.
Police were on a routine patrol when they came across the burning building at about 2.24am and alerted fire fighters.
Captain Carey said when he arrived the building was well alight, with flames coming from the roof.
He believed it started in the northern section of the building near a power box. The fire then spread throughout the industrial arts centre within 10 minutes of the initial alert.
“Our main objective was to stop it spreading to other parts of the school.”
A demountable building behind the centre and the toilets and canteen block to the side of it, were saved.
An excavator had to be called in to turn over large amounts of smoldering debris to help extinguish the fire.
Fire fighters had the blaze under control by 3.30am and were still continuing mop up operations at 11.30am.
The Tribune could not confirm if classes would resume on Monday.
Education department spokesman Mark Davis said the school community was in shock.
“Obviously it’s a shock and a disappointment when you lose a resource like that.”
He was not sure if the area contained students’ work but said he would know more tomorrow.
“There will be some disruptions to students’ learning,” he said. “We’re going to be working with the school to ensure that is minimised.”
The department will have more information regarding disruptions by lunch time tomorrow. Check the Tribune’s Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
Photos from the scene here.