After signing a contract with the School Board for the construction of eight modular classrooms in elementary schools within the city, and providing the money for the project, Parkland has had to settle for six. The classrooms will be constructed at Heron Heights and Park Trails elementary schools.
According to the second amendment of the contract that was approved by city officials, the School Board will construct six classrooms by July 20, 2016. The agreement, which was signed in March last year, was first amended in July to provide for the construction of seven classrooms.
In anticipation of an increase in the demand for seats in schools within the city due to the ongoing construction of homes in the wedge, the City Commission had given $1.77 million, donated by developers, to the School Board for the construction of the modulars. Superintendent Robert Runcie believes that the six classrooms, in addition to the proposed 24-classroom addition at Riverglades Elementary School, will be sufficient to meet the enrollment demands.
“We will not have boundary changes,” he said at a recent City Commission meeting. “We will have sufficient capacity within the schools to meet the growing enrollment. The six units allow us to meet the enrollment needs.”
The original plan was to build eight classrooms in one location; the decision to do the project at two locations drove the costs up, Runcie said. That, and the deficit in the funds provided by the city, resulted in the decision to build six modulars, rather than eight, he added.
The city will provide about $8 million to the School Board for the construction of the 24 classrooms at Riverglades. The project is expected to be completed by 2018-2019, with the option of building 12 classrooms one year and 12 the next. However, both the city and the school district are in favor of finishing the project earlier, in one go.
The city is expected to get the money required for the project from developers next February. “We will try to get the dollars earlier; it will be a help for the School Board,” said Mayor Michael Udine. “It makes so much more sense to do it in one shot; it is much more cost effective.”
“Doing all 24 as a single project will reduce the costs,” Runcie said. “Splitting it into two makes it a lot more complex.”
Commissioner Christine Hunschofsky wanted the School Board to finish building the 24 classrooms by the 2017-2018 school year and not by 2018-2019. “It is unfortunate that the number of modular classrooms went from eight to seven to six, but a lot of things change. While we have only six modulars coming in, we will get a 24-classrooms addition. We definitely need all 24 units.”
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