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Jefferson County turns to portable classrooms

August 08, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Forced to find more space for new students, Jefferson County Schools officials had to purchase eight portable classrooms for the upcoming school year.

Two of the portable classrooms will go to Jefferson High School, four will go to Charles Town Middle School, one will go to Blue Ridge Elementary School and one will be used at Shepherdstown Middle School, said Russell Fitzgerald, construction project manager for the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Although Fitzgerald could not provide numbers on how overcrowded each of the four schools are, he said school officials were estimating they would have an 835-seat "deficit" this coming year without the portable classrooms

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Until more school facilities can be built, buying portable classrooms is a situation over which school officials have little control, Fitzgerald said.

"It wasn't a bad decision. It was the only decision," Fitzgerald said.

"For some reason, Charles Town Middle has been getting the brunt," Fitzgerald said.

School officials initially purchased six portable classrooms, which have two classrooms each, Fitzgerald said. After those were purchased, school officials realized two more had to be purchased, Fitzgerald said.

The first six portable classrooms have arrived in the county and the other two are being built, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said he hoped to have the portable classrooms, which cost more than $300,000, ready to go for the new school year. Although the classrooms are expected to be in place for the new year, Allegheny Power will have to hook up utilities and officials with the power company said they are dealing with a full work schedule, Fitzgerald said.

School officials have been concerned about the county's growing student population.

Every school in the county is overcrowded and the School Board is focusing on building a second high school to create more space.

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