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Glendale Schools' Use of Portable Classrooms Reaches Record Level

June 22, 1989|DONNELL ALEXANDER | Times Staff Writer

So many portable classrooms sit outside Horace Mann Elementary School in Glendale that they obscure the school. But the boxy "bungalows" are on their way off the playground to make room for a parking lot. The children will go into an auxiliary classroom building under construction.

"One way or another, the bungalows had to be out by the week of the 26th," said Dick White, director of maintenance and operations for the district.

Two neighboring school districts need the portables. So one night next week, huge trucks will pull up and workers will "put them on wheels and haul them out," White said.

Any child attending a Glendale public school has likely spent some time in portable classrooms. Employed to handle student overflow, they are as common as basketball hoops.

With school attendance at an all-time high, Glendale is using a record number of portable classrooms as it waits for the time, space and money needed to erect permanent buildings.

The district this fall will have 211 of the temporary classrooms. At John Muir Elementary School, for example, there are as many students in portable units as there are in the main building.

The school district moves them around as needed but is gradually replacing the older style, which officials call bungalows, with newer trailers.

The bungalows have been around as long as 30 years, are worn from use, don't travel well and lack air conditioning.

Trailers are the wave of the future among temporary classrooms. Transporting them is easy, and the district returns the leased units to an Orange County dealer when it no longer needs them.

Carpeted and cool, trailers have the look and feel of regular classrooms, at least on the inside. Vic Pallos, a school spokesman, said some students prefer portables to older buildings that aren't air-conditioned.

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