Public Education: Why You Should Begin Expansion Planning Now
Although the school year is about halfway completed, it is the beginning of a new calendar year. And with that, marks the time of year that public schools begin to plan for their next building expansion.
Planning takes time and the earlier schools start this process, the more assurance they have that their new classroom space will be ready in time for next school year. The best time to add school classrooms is during the summer months because that is when students and faculty are on an extended break. This helps reduce disruption to school operations and eliminates construction safety risks for students and faculty. Temporary modular classrooms can easily be installed over summer break, but planning should begin now.
Classroom Overcrowding Creates A Need For Overflow Space
There are many reasons why public schools look to add classroom space; however, student enrollment growth is the prominent one. Issues arise when student enrollment exceeds the designed capacity of a building or optimal student-to-teacher ratios. Not only does overcrowding cause academic performance to begin declining, but it can also create a learning environment where faculty may struggle to provide the proper educational experience for each individual student.
The following are a few reasons why overcrowding can create issues within public schools, according to Community & Environmental Defense Services:
- Negative impact on reading proficiency and math achievement
- A portion of the students may be forced to eat lunch early or late in the day, due to lack of space
- Increased bullying among students
- Traffic congestion and pedestrian safety becomes more of a problem at pick-up and drop-off times
- There is lack of space for parents to watch school events, plays, or graduation
- Wear and tear on the buildings
“Overcrowding creates unsafe environments and makes teaching and learning more difficult. Schools may need to teach students in auditoriums, gymnasiums, storage rooms, and other areas never intended to be used for instructional purposes. Schools with too little space may not be able to maintain specially equipped rooms such as science labs or libraries because these spaces need to be “flexible” for teaching multiple subjects.”- California Educational Opportunity Report
Some public school administrators and teachers are beginning to get creative because of limited space. Subjects like music and art have to be taught room-to-room using a cart to transport supplies because there are not enough classrooms to designate to these valuable programs. This is not a desirable temporary fix, and certainly not a long-term solution. Another solution is shifting students from one school to another; taking them out of a learning environment with which they are familiar and tossing them into an entirely new situation.
Overcrowding of students can create a need for not only more classrooms, but also cafeteria space, restrooms, locker rooms, library space, laboratories, and more. So, how are schools handling this dilemma?
Temporary Classroom Buildings
Portable modular classroom buildings are ideal for public education because they are an affordable alternative to traditional construction methods. They offer comfortable temporary learning space solutions. Many school districts choose to lease classroom buildings so they can be returned when they are no longer needed, or when they choose to build with permanent construction down the road.
The primary reason public schools use temporary classrooms is that they can be delivered and set up in a very short time frame. Affordable monthly payments create flexibility for school budgets.
Timeframe for Modular Construction
Modular building construction can reduce “time-to-occupancy” by as much as 50%. The reason for this is because as a building is being pre-fabricated in the factory; the site preparation, excavation, and foundation installation can be done simultaneously. Therefore, twice as much is being done at the same time.
With that being said, the planning process is an important step. Critical components such as contracts, building permit approval, and plan reviews need to take place. Planning ahead for your school’s modular building project will help ensure the execution will go smoothly and the classroom space will be ready in time.
If you have overcrowded classrooms and are thinking of expanding for the 2018/2019 school year, be sure to contact your local Vanguard Modular Building Systems representative to discuss your needs and options.