Students and parents at Millstream and Lakewood elementaries may find their school grounds look slightly different.
Two new portables were installed at each school Tuesday and will act as classrooms for roughly 100 students in September. Three more portables are expected to arrive in November.
“It’s a big push for the last two-and-a-half-weeks of summer that’s left, but our schedule shows we’ll be able to get the kids in there for the first day of school,” said Alex Samousevitch, construction supervisor for the Sooke School District, who was on site at Millstream Elementary during the installations.
The new portables are part of the school district’s plans to reduce class sizes due to a Supreme Court decision that restores clauses that were previously deleted from the teachers contract by Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government in 2002. Those clauses deal with class size, the number of special needs students who can be in a class and the number of specialist teachers required in schools.
Plans began in May to get the portables constructed and crews lined up to complete the work. But Samousevitch said getting them installed has been anything but easy, as they’ve faced a number of challenges including labour and material shortages, as well as the industry being overwhelmed due to the amount of portables needing to be built.
“It’s like a perfect storm this year to try and tackle this kind of large project,” Samousevitch said.
Before school begins on Sept. 5, portables will be installed at 19 schools, including Spencer Middle School and David Cameron Elementary. Work is also currently being done on Dunsmuir Middle School and Royal Bay Secondary, as well as Happy Valley, Sooke and Poirier elementary schools.