The Board of Education approved three items relating to school infrastructure at their Wednesday meeting, including the purchase of a six-classroom portable unit for Oakdale Elementary School.
The unit will include a bathroom section and will be located in the play-field back-left corner of the school's property, according to Paul Lebo, chief operating officer for FCPS.
The project, including the delivery of the unit, installation, and any needed electrical and plumbing work will cost close to $700,000.
The motion to approve the purchase passed, but Board member Liz Barrett voted against it.
Before the vote, she asked how decisions on things like portables are being factored into the current situation and the uncertainty of whether or not students will physically be in school buildings in the fall.
Lebo responded that although it is the general understanding that there will not be a traditional opening of schools in the fall, the additional space is still needed.
"That space is needed to accommodate the number of staff that are being provided for the classroom teachers at Oakdale Elementary next school year," Lebo said. "We will need that classroom space to be able to support social distancing and separation of students...there might be less students in it but we need that actual classroom space.”
Barrett also asked why portables at Oakdale Elementary weren't discussed during the redistricting process that took place in late 2019.
School superintendent Terry Alban said the planned neighborhood near Oakdale High School has been progressing faster than originally anticipated which is why the purchase of the unit is being recommended at this time.
A 10-classroom portable unit will also be moved from Centerville Elementary School to Monocacy Elementary School over the summer.
The relocation and re-assembly of the unit, which will cost approximately $262,000, was approved unanimously by the Board.
Lebo said the relocation is needed for several reasons but the most pressing is that the current 10 portable units at Monocacy Elementary are aging.
The current portables Monocacy Elementary has are also all single classroom units. Changing that to a multi-classroom unit has multiple benefits, Lebo said.
"The ability to have a unit increases restroom capacity for that school, it also increases their security posture," Lebo said. "They are also a growing community and it provides some long-term potential capacity needs.”
Besides portables, the Board also unanimously approved the removal and reconstruction of the parking lot and roadways at Catoctin High School.
The project is expected to improve site logistics, traffic patterns, and security by providing increased site lighting.
This project is also scheduled to take place over the summer and is expected to cost approximately $670,000.