Most of us in the North America can remember that when we were kids some of our classrooms were in portable school buildings. At the time most of us probably did not know or care why our school was made up of mobile school buildings, but the reasons can usually be attributed to economical or population factors.
History of Portable Buildings in Schools
In recent years in California portables have grown in usage because the Class Size Reduction program. This program attempts to limit the number of students that a particular classroom can have to better the education that students receive. Because of this more facilities have had to turn to mobile school buildings to follow the program without exceeding their yearly budgets. Portable buildings can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000, whereas a constructed facility can cost $115,000 to $177,000. Portable school buildings are also being used because they are considerably faster to put up than a traditional classroom that has to be constructed from the ground up. The two types of portable school buildings currently being used are those approved either by the Department of State Architect (DSA) or the State Department of Housing (DOH). The DSA approved portable school buildings are the only one that follow the standards of the California Field Act and can be purchased or leased by schools for temporary or permanent use. DOH approved portable buildings do not follow the California Field Act and instead follow the Uniform building Code. As a result DOH approved mobile school buildings may only be leased by schools. Portable Steel Buildings in Canada are also approved.
Benefits of Portable School Buildings
Portable school buildings can be used for more than just a normal classroom setting. Since they come in all shapes and sizes, portable school buildings can be converted to be used as science labs, lunch rooms, and multi-purpose rooms. They can also be multiple stories to accommodate for area’s in which there is not a lot of land. Portable buildings are also very durable and because of that can usually be sold back to the manufacturer when they are no longer needed or a school wants to upgrade them.
With all these benefits, it is easy to see that temporary school buildings are the way to help schools meet the needs of the Class Size Reduction program. As population continues to grow and an exponential rate, schools need portable buildings to fight class room overcrowding and the high costs that can come from building more facilities.
But is there a downside to portable school buildings that can be found? Just like anything in life, portable school buildings are not perfect. Before the DSA stepped in, schools didn’t have to meet certain guidelines such as what foundation the portable building could be put on and earthquake safety. These issues have largely gone away, although it is estimated that some schools are still not following the new DSA regulations and many people have argued that portable buildings should only be a temporary solution until actual facilities can be built. Regardless of these issues, mobile school buildings play a vital role in shrinking down classroom sizes and there use doesn’t look to be showing any signs of slowing down.