ST PIUS X High School is facing a $500,000 damage bill after a suspicious fire destroyed part of its Adamstown campus.
Investigators are expected to return to the site tomorrow to make further inquiries regarding the weekend blaze.
The fire occurred at about 4.30pm yesterday at the Park Avenue campus.
Principal Robert Emery said yesterday that the Sister Marie Hall, or the old St Anne’s Library, and a ministry co-ordinator’s office within the hall, was destroyed.
Photos of graduating classes dating back to the 1980s, music equipment, archival records and kitchen items were lost.
Mr Emery said the fire was contained to the isolated hall and did not spread to any of the school’s new buildings in the factory wing.
The damage is estimated at more than $500,000.
Police said initial investigations suggested the fire was deliberately lit.
Mr Emery said the site was expected to be cleaned up and fenced off before the end of the school holidays.
It was likely to take about six months to plan for a proposed new building.
Mr Emery said the hall had been used for gatherings such as year meetings.
Fortunately, new buildings in the factory wing were scheduled to open in week two of term three, he said.
Investigators from Newcastle City local area command are following several lines of inquiry about the fire and want anyone who noticed suspicious activity around the school on Saturday to contact them.
Crime Stoppers 1800333000.