Three’s a Crowd: New Portables at Schools

8-12-05 - Sherman ISD is growing, not only in the number of students, but classrooms. Three new portables were added to elementary school campuses, bringing the number of students who will spend the school day in portable classrooms to 1000.

Administrators are concerned that the portables don’t fix the problems of growing schools; they just temporarily mask them. While districts across the Texoma region grow, the bigger districts tend to feel more of the growing pains.

"What happens with all the growth? What happens if we see these great new employers come to town and we add a tremendous number of students? We don't have enough portables to deal with the growth," Bruce Barnett, Asst. Superintendent of Finance for Sherman ISD, said.

Denison feels the effects as well.

"An education administrator once said, 'there is nothing more permanent than a portable building.' I tend to agree. They don't go away," Dr. Henry Scott, Superintendent for the Denison School District, said.

At a cost of $35,000 to $40,000 each, portables are cheaper than school building additions.

At Wakefield Elementary School in Sherman, over half the kids will go back to portables on Monday. The third addition to the portables at Washington Elementary maximizes all the room on the campus.

Come September 10, Sherman ISD will have a chance to do something about that. A special $77 million bond election will be held for school district improvements. Administrators say around one-third of that money will be used to rid elementary school campuses of portables. If it passes, two new elementary schools will be built: one to house the number of kids currently in portable classrooms, and one to accommodate future growth. Sherman administrators encourage the public to come out and vote.

"One of the main reasons we need a bond issue is because every child needs a classroom in Sherman ISD. For safety and security, we feel we need to replace those portables with permanent space," Barnett said.