Thurston to get portable classrooms

Temporary buildings will probably be placed over winter break.

October 24, 2013|By Bryce Alderton

Thurston Middle School will receive two temporary buildings to deal with a recent enrollment increase.

Laguna Beach Unified School District board members unanimously approved the portable buildings on the Park Avenue campus at their meeting Tuesday.

The school has seen an enrollment spike every year since the 2006-07 school year, including an increase to 806 students from 722 in the past two years, a district staff report said.


Two teachers do not have their own classrooms and have to move between different rooms, which is a challenge, the report said.

"They are required to set up in a new environment for every class, cart materials from room to room and teach without disturbing another teacher's work station," the report said.

District Facilities Director Ted Doughty will walk the site next week with Encinitas-based Webb Cleff Architecture and Engineering to identify possible locations, he said.

The blacktop is one possible spot, Doughty said.

"I've spoken with the [physical education] staff and will take their concerns into consideration," Doughty told board members.

Board president William Landsiedel was hesitant to approve a temporary fix.

"I'd rather see a permanent structure," Landsiedel said.

The board's approval also includes hiring a consulting company, DecisionInsite, to analyze the district's demographics and project future enrollment numbers, Doughty said.

The tentative plan is to place the portable buildings on campus during winter break, according to Doughty.

"We've got an immediate need," Doughty said. "There is no sense in waiting until next year."

The two structures, which Doughty said are 24 feet by 40 feet, would be in place for no more than two years.

The project will cost $37,725, including $10,000 for architectural services, $23,356 for a one-year lease of two buildings, and $4,369 for the demographic study and utilities, according to the staff report. The money will come from previously earmarked developer fees that have been put aside to cover such district projects, Doughty said.

Having a teacher already in the classroom when students arrive is important, according to Thurston Principal Jenny Salberg.

"The teachers can greet students when they arrive, which can set the tone for the whole period," Salberg said.

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