BOE approves modular buildings surplus

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- Next year you might not see as many modular classrooms at Newton County's public schools.

The Newton County Board of Education recently approved unanimously a recommendation from Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews declaring 65 of 154 modular buildings as surplus items, allowing for the appropriate disposal of the property.

To accompany a rezoning plan for elementary schools that reduces overcrowding at many of them, NCSS officials introduced the idea of surplusing some of the buildings that are not being used. Currently, 43 are used as classrooms at the system's 14 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools.

In October, officials inspected each unit's ceiling, walls, floors, outside areas, steps or ramps, doors and windows. Then they rated 93 of them in good or fair condition and 61 in poor condition -- some ceilings were leaking and created mold and mildew stains, some had holes in the walls and some had missing or damaged floor coverings. Those in poor condition are not in use at any facility, said NCSS Deputy Superintendent Dennis Carpenter.

Earlier this month, Carpenter proposed that 65 of the modular buildings be surplused -- 63 are expected to be sold to the public using Web-based auction sites, www.govdeals.com and www.publicsurplus.com, and the other two will be transferred to the Newton County Sheriff's Department and the Washington Street Community Center. Each are responsible for moving the units.

Jan Loomans, director of Operational Services at NCSS, said the remainder of the units will stay at their current locations, as the cost to move each one is about $1,800. She will have the power turned off to buildings that have meter fees, and the Maintenance and Operations department will maintain the exterior of the units as needed and inspect the interior and exterior of each of them twice each year.

Beyond the 2012-13 school year, officials said they won't know if enrollment will call for fewer or more modular classrooms, which is why all of the units weren't surplused.