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W.Va. schools will hold the line on portable classrooms

April 09, 2001

W.Va. schools will hold the line on portable classrooms



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - School officials in Berkeley and Jefferson counties said Monday they will be able to avoid buying more portable classrooms to offset growing student populations next year.

Although Berkeley County's student population is expected to increase by between 250 to 400 students next year, school officials believe they will be able to offset student population growth when they open a new intermediate school on Eagle School Road in August.

The new intermediate school will take pressure off Burke Street, Tuscarora and Opequon elementary schools, said Frank Aliveto, deputy superintendent of schools. That, in turn, will allow the district to move four portable classrooms from those three elementary schools and use them to open up more space at Martinsburg High School and Hedgesville and North middle schools, Aliveto said.

That's the plan for now.

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If more students that expected move into the area over the summer - or if kindergarten registrations are higher than normal next month - the school system could be forced into buying more portable classrooms, Aliveto said.

Portable classrooms, which look similar to mobile homes, are detached from the main building of a school. Although Superintendent of Schools Manny Arvon said he thinks the classrooms do not affect the quality of education, some teachers who use the classrooms do not like being separated from colleagues.

"You're isolated, and that's the drawback," Arvon said.

Berkeley County Schools officials last year purchased 16 portable classrooms to help offset growing student populations.

That is roughly the number of portable classrooms being used in the county, Arvon said.

Although conditions may be a little "tight" in Jefferson County Schools next year, district officials believe they can avoid buying additional portable classrooms next year, said George Frame, director of support services for Jefferson County schools.

"We're going to try to hold the line this year," said Frame.

Although Frame did not have specific projections with him Monday, he said the school system was not expecting a great increase in students next year.

About 25 portable classrooms are being used in Jefferson County.

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