Chernobyl Trip Part Four - Pripyat School
Into the school
Next door to the sports hall was the first secondary school. The exterior was very weathered. As in the sports hall, the roof was leaking badly and much of the ground was covered in water. Light fittings has also rusted and bent down; Insulation was all over the floor. The trees were covering the way, so we had to weave between them.
Gas masks, cash registers and milk
First, we were taken to a rather odd room. Originally the canteen, it was filled with seemingly quite random items. Most obviously, there were a lot of gas masks; and I mean a lot. All over the floor and hanging from the ceiling, gas masks had been dumped here. I say dumped because, as Dennis informed us, they were never originally there - they were never supposed to be for the children as the alert level never got to that stage.
At the time of the disaster, the authorities neglected to tell the civilians the true extent of the disaster, claiming that it was only a minor fire. It was only 36 hours later the evacuation was suddenly started. The gas marks were dumped here much later for, as Dennis claims, photographers. I'm not sure if this is sad, but It's definitely strange.
Other items included a cash register, milk bottles (complete with gone off milk!) and several school books.
The way to the kitchen was blocked off with shelves and tables. Luckily, Dennis knew a way around and after a slight detour, we were in the classrooms. The school was one of the best places to see on the trip. The relatively low-value items in there meant that looters were not bothered about raiding it, resulting in a lot of in-tact rooms. One thing we noticed here that was different to the other places is the condition of the walls. Almost everywhere we went the paint was peeling off, but here, it was mostly in tact.
First floor corridors
The first floor, like the ground, were all classrooms, with the exception with what was left of the library. The books were scattered throughout much of the second floor, a good 10-20 cm deep. Almost 30 years of rain has turned the underlying paper to mush and wherever you stepped you were rewarded with a squelch. The added weight on the floor must be huge.
Gym, halls and kitchen
Going up another floor, we found the Gym. Like the sports hall we visited earlier, the floor panels were warped and broken; only a pommel horse and the wall displays remained. The hall was more the same. At the front was derelict piano, in front of a collapsed stage.
Lastly, we found ourselves on the opposite side to the first room barricade and in the kitchen. Strangely, the metal ovens were still there, along with broken crockery and a few rotten wooden tables.
Navigating round the barricade, we exited the school into blistering heat. We had spent about 40 minutes in the school and inside was a good 10 degrees cooler. We beat a quick march back to the car, stopping only to snap a "fire beetle".