Two schools add mobile classrooms

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Two Englewood elementary schools, Bishop and Charles Hay, increased in size during the summer with the addition of a mobile classroom unit on each campus.

“We have had steady enrollment increases at Bishop and Charles Hay, so there was no room for further increases this year,” said Brian Ewert, school superintendent. “To alleviate the crowded situation at those schools, the district decided to purchase a mobile classroom unit for each of them.”

Each unit is 70 feet long and 24 feet wide. The mobile unit is heated and air-conditioned and contains two classrooms. The unit at Bishop also includes a small conference room and some storage space. The unit at Charles Hay has a larger conference room and no storage space.

All the connections are provided to supply each classroom with technology such as computers and smart boards.

“The district evaluated the best way to meet the need for more space for students at Bishop and Charles Hay,” the superintendent said. “One option was to build a wing on each school. However, the decision was it was less expensive and a better solution to bring in a mobile classroom unit to each school.”

A mobile classroom unit costs about $100,000. Each school already had a concrete pad available for the unit, but there were additional costs hooking up utilities as well as the fire and burglar alarm systems.

Ewert said the school principals decided how to best use the mobile classroom units.

Linda Lewis, Bishop principal, elected to use the unit for two sixth-grade classes.

“The mobile classroom unit is amazing,” the principal said. “The students are excited to be in those classrooms and we are excited to have the amazing addition to our campus.”

She said just about every available space inside the school was used to accommodate students, which included converting a closet into an office for teachers and having sixth-graders attend class in the library.

“While we still don’t have much spare space, the mobile unit makes our school a little less crowded,” Lewis said.

Charles Hay World School Principal Craig Ferguson said the mobile classroom unit provided the additional space needed to handle enrollment that is now is nearly 400 students.

“Our enrollment has been growing steadily for the past few years and we were just running out of space,” the principal said. “Last year, for example, our Spanish teacher had to work out of a mobile cart in the hall and we moved our music program around to any space available.”

Ferguson opted to move his Spanish classes and his music classes into the mobile classroom units.

“It has been great to have those classes in a permanent location,” he said. “Also, the mobile unit has meeting space, and that is an area where teachers can meet together or with parents that wasn’t available to them before.”