Middle School Portables Will Be Finished After School Starts

Classrooms would be done by the end of September; schools would have some classes on a cart rather than in a dedicated room in the early weeks.

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.”

joe July 09, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Still dont understand why this project has not been put on hold. It's being rushed. The students are going to suffer in the end. Wish I didn't have a child in this horrible school system.
John C. Higgins Sr July 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Has anyone even asked what the sizes of the classes will be. I bet since we have gone from three to two middle schools we are going to see an increase in student to teacher ratio. Which equals less time and attention for our children.
joe July 09, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I wonder if any of grotons elected even read these comments.
William July 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM
The BOE as a whole is just plain inept. A few quality people on board, but as an organization the simply can not do the job. Couple this with their choice of a 'Superintendent' and they have driven our schools straight into the ground. Time for us to vote in new blood the next chance we get!
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