Since the events of Feb. 14, the 1200 building on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus has been blocked off from the public but, more importantly, the students and staff at the school. This has left many teachers without a classroom of their own, much to their dismay. As a result, teachers have been forced to share classrooms with other teachers and move from classroom to classroom throughout the day.
While teachers have allowed for classroom hopping to take place during the 2017-2018 school year, many have complained about the possible continuation of this system for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
“We all spoke about the fact that teachers have to have a place to come to and that we cannot have large classes, in fact we need smaller classes,” English teacher Donna Amelkin said. “The school board is giving administration no help in figuring out the space issue. It is ridiculous.”
MSD teachers began to demand the implementation of portables on campus before the upcoming school year. About 15 teachers from the MSD English department attended a listening session with superintendent Robert Runcie and school board member Abby Freedman, while all of them wore “teacher strong” t-shirts. The teachers argued in favor of placing portables on campus before the beginning of the upcoming school year to better accommodate the MSD teachers.
As a result of such push back from staff, the school board has decided to place portables near the back of the school by the basketball courts.
“We understand the importance of these portables to the school community and we are working to complete the installation as quickly as possible, while ensuring the new portables meet MSD space needs, educational codes and safety requirements,” the District said in a press release.
The District plans to install 34 portables. These will include 30 classrooms, two portables dedicated to student counseling/resilience center and two portables for restrooms, which are ensured to meet the population’s needs.
The portables are expected to start being delivered in mid-July, with the ultimate goal of the District being to have most, if not all, portables delivered by the start of the next school year in August.
The vendor selected by the District to take on this task is Mobile Modular. They were selected out of a group of six other possibilities, however, it was found to be most suitable for the job.
The District ensures that it is working to ready the site for the arrival of the portables. They claim that all of the South Florida Building code requirements are met, and work is being done to test the soil, meet essential requirements for electrical services etc.
Once installed, the portables must have all necessary utilities must be connected to meet the safety requirements. Such connections must be made to ensure things like fire alarms, electrical, intercom, data, phone and other systems are working smoothly. Additionally, the portables must be anchored down.
“As we all prepare for the 2018/19 school year, the District and school leadership will continue to provide updates to our students, families, staff and community” the District said in a press release.
As further information comes to light, the District assures the community that it will keep them updated.