The Van (Texas) School District, whose facilities sustained severe damage last month from a tornado, will gain use of 31 portable classrooms from the nearby Tyler district, which no longer needs them.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph says the portable classrooms will comprise a temporary campus for elementary students, whose school was destroyed in the May 10 tornado.
Superintendent Don Dunn says J.E. Rhodes Elementary School, which sustained significant damage, will not be available when school resumes in August.
"We have decided to place the portables in the front section of property at Van Middle School," Van Superintendent Don Dunn announced on the district web site. "This location offers several advantages. It is a large piece of property that will easily accommodate the 25-plus buildings we will need. We will add 55 additional parking spaces in front of Van Middle School to expand the parking capacity. We will pour concrete walkways, build ramps to each building, and construct covered walkways over the entire portable complex."
Students in grades 2 and 3 will be housed in the portables, and kindergartners and 1st-graders will be housed in Van Intermediate School. Officials decided that the older students would adjust to portable classrooms more easily; in addition, Van's early childhood building is on the same campus as Van Intermediate School, so the younger students would have an easier transition to the intermediate school setting.
Placing the portables at the middle school enables the students to use the cafeteria for lunch. With thoughts of the devastating tornado still fresh, Dunn says another "major advantage of this location rests in the fact that if there is ever any threatening weather, we can get our second and third grade students into a permanent structure very quickly."
Tyler district officials say they are working out a lease arrangement giving Van use of the portables for $1 per unit per year. When the tornado struck Van, Tyler was auctioning its unused portable buildings online. It pulled several out of the auction to have them available for Van.