Portables Sought for Sunningdale School

Robert Thomas

A large student population and a lack of space has Prairie South School Division's Board green lighting an application for two new portable classrooms for Sunningdale School.

Following a meeting of the Division's Business, Infrastructure and Governance Committee the Committee instructed Administration to make the application for Sunningdale School. 

“The work we are doing and how we make best use of our facilities for a growing population. We have had lots of different information brought to us and Sunningdale School is the one that had the highest usage rate so we are making a recommendation to Administration and the committee of the whole to approve this motion to the Ministry,” Trustee Robert Bachmann said.

In its application for the two portable classrooms the Division projected 2019-2020 school enrolment to be 439 students. 

The question as to how the determination as to where the portables, if approved, would be located was asked by Trustee Lew Young. Young also stated concerns had been raised about the final layout not being an actual square.

“Where do they determine where do the portable relocatables go in a school yard? And in the case of Sunningdale how would you determine where another portable would go?” Trustee Young asked.

“Sunningdale is a great example we have had a portable assigned each of the last two budgets. When the Ministry (of Education) determines  Sunningdale and notify us through the budget process and then Darren Baiton, our Facilities Manager, would work with our architect to determine the possible locations where the portables are located,” Superintendent Tony Baldwin said.

The Province will only spend up to a determined level which also plays into where the portable is located. Any additional spending is the Division's responsibility Baldwin said. 

“The Ministry has a set funding level for portables that they will spend up to and not over. In some cases attaching the actual portable to the school can be quite pricey so that’s always a factor for staying within that funding envelope because anytime we go over would be payable by the School Division rather than payable by the Provincial Government,” Baldwin said.

In their application Prairie South not only requested the two portable classrooms but additionally earthwork, site leveling, piles and a link to the school. 

Safety factors come into consideration in determining where to position the portables. Playground supervision factors such as knocks and crannies make it more difficult. Also consideration is given to providing egress for fire fighting. 

Trustee Young said it was “interesting all of that school is getting to be portables. A lot of people may not realize the south east part over to the east us all portables. The main part of the school is to the west. There is a lot of portables there and we need to be commended how the aesthetics and things work to make things work that “

Trustee Shawn Davidson told the Board other schools could have used the portables “but Sunningdale School was the most crowded by the Ministry utilization numbers.”

“It’s most likely to be approved by the Province because it has the largest population for its size,” Trustee Davidson said. 

The application now heads to the Ministry of Education for approval. The number of portables and whether or not the Division’s request is approved will be announced in the Provincial Budget. Each year the Ministry allots a certain number of portable classrooms as part of its annual budget. 

The Division already has submitted an application to the province requesting a new school be built on South Hill. The last new school built in Moose Jaw is Sunningdale School.