Portable classrooms for and schools will not be done for the start of school but will be finished by the end of September, Interim Superintendent Randall Collins said.
School officials discussed the project with several prospective contractors and the architect, and decided that a deadline of Aug. 28 was unrealistic, according to a briefing memo to the school board.
School begins for students on Aug. 29.
Under the new schedule, bids for the project would be opened July 19, and a certificate of occupancy would be ready Sept. 28. Collins said the portables may be finished sooner.
“They aren’t going to be ready by the time school begins but we expect they’ll be ready sometime in September,” he said. “These contractors, time is money to them. They want to get in, get out, and get paid.”
Collins said the district would accommodate additional students without the portables by temporarily having some classes on a cart, rather than in a dedicated room.
This is possible because middle schools dedicate four classrooms to each team of students, but not all rooms in the school are full all the time. Since there are eight periods in a day and students attend other classes like gym, teachers can move into whatever room happens to be vacant. Collins explained that some teachers would keep supplies on a cart.
“We’d have to schedule them into rooms that were empty,” he said. “Students wouldn’t notice it as much as teachers.”
He said it wouldn't be ideal, but it would work for a short period of time.
“It will be crowded and it will not be the best for the teachers. . . it simply can’t be done on a long-term basis. It’s a stop-gap measure that will allow us to begin school in an orderly fashion,” Collins said.
He said the project was delayed by a lengthy process at the state level.
While portable classrooms are intended to be temporary, the state considers them permanent structures for the purpose of review, so they are subject to the same building scrutiny as a new school.
In addition, Groton must make changes to the portables, like installing windows that can withstand hurricane-force winds.
“Construction will take between 8 and 10 weeks,” the memo to the school board said. “If we do not allow adequate time to develop bids and for construction, we may not receive an adequate number of bids or no bids at all.”