Modular rooms out for 2011

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System intends to eliminate the need for modular classrooms -- at least for the next school year -- with its new rezoning plan.

Officials with NCSS presented a proposed rezoning plan for elementary schools to the Newton County Board of Education during its monthly work session on Tuesday. The rezoning would affect about 30 percent of the 9,500 elementary school students in NCSS and change the zoned attendance lines for nearly every elementary school.

In addition to reducing transportation costs, reducing overcrowding and delaying the need for building additions for at least the next couple of years, the plan also will eliminate the need for use of modular, or portable, classrooms in the elementary schools.

Currently, NCSS has 154 modular classrooms at its 14 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools; however, the schools are using only 43 of them as classrooms. One is being used as a restroom unit, and 111 are not in use.

In October, officials inspected each unit's ceilings, 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. The ones in poor condition are not in use at any facility, said NCSS Deputy Superintendent Dennis Carpenter.

He said he plans to bring to the school board in December between 70 and 75 units to be declared surplus.

"We wanted to get board support," he said Tuesday, adding that the units weren't declared surplus earlier due to possible growth in enrollment.

Carpenter said he will notify organizations and businesses that have previously expressed interest in purchasing the units and have them picked up. If they can't be sold locally, he said they will be placed on www.govdeals.com, an online governmental surplus auction site that NCSS uses.

"People buy whatever we put on there," Carpenter said.

Jan Loomans, director of Operational Services at NCSS, said the balance of the units will remain at the 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 & Operations Department will maintain the exterior of the units as needed and inspect the interior and exterior of each of them twice each year.

The school system does not want to sell all of the unused units in case they are needed in the future. Beyond the 2012-13 school year, NCSS won't know if its enrollment will call for fewer or more modular classrooms.

"We really don't know what our needs will be going forward," Loomans said.