Vancouver schools to construct new classrooms at 2 elementaries

They will accommodate full-day kindergarten, replace portables

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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Two Vancouver elementary schools, Sarah J. Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt, will have additional classrooms built in time for the 2014-15 school year. At its August 13 meeting, the Vancouver Public Schools board of directors approved construction of six additional classrooms at each school.

The additional space is needed as the district implements full-day kindergarten at all of its elementary schools, which essentially doubles the amount of space needed for kindergarten students.

"The schools are over full. They've had portables at those two schools for several years," said Todd Horenstein, the district's assistant superintendent for facility support services. "We don't have space to add more portables. We decided to construct new classrooms to replace existing portables and also provide permanent classroom space to accommodate the full-day kindergarten program."

The design process will begin this fall. Construction will occur during the school year. The new classrooms will be ready at the start of the 2014-15 school year. The classrooms will replace costly portable units, three at Roosevelt and two at Sarah J. Anderson.

It's too early for the district to know the cost of the new additions, Horenstein said.

To alleviate crowding and the impact of full-day kindergarten, the district will continue to use portable classrooms at several other schools. The district will purchase six portables it has been leasing. Also, the district will continue to lease six existing portables ,as well as two new portables.

The district is paying for construction and the portables through the capital projects fund, which includes proceeds from school impact fees and reserves.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com