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Portables help ease CCSD's overcrowding woes | News

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Portables help ease CCSD's overcrowding woes

LAS VEGAS — Even though school is out for the summer, the Clark County School District is busy trying to come up with ways to accommodate all the new students coming in this fall. The district says they don't have the money to build new schools, so one solution is to bring in more portables.

Portables have been around for a long time in Clark County, but with so many people moving to the area in recent years, the need for the movable classrooms is greater than ever. And they don't come cheap.

When it comes to portables, Dennis Donnelly at CCSD is an expert. He's been with the district for 25 years and now helps oversee some 1,500 portables in hundreds of schools around the valley.

"I believe the most (portables) we have on site is 17." That's at one school and that need continues to grow.

Since December, the district has been ordering 3 portables a week — and hope to have 80 brand new ones to accommodate all students come this fall.

"They have to have a place for the kids to go to school," said Donnelly. 

At Red Rock Elementary in the northwest, a new portable was just delivered a couple of weeks ago. The price tag: about $90,000. That means it's about $7.2 million for all 80 new portables needed to help ease overcrowding.

"I think portables are a good temporary solution right now," says mother of four Ann Benites. She says if CCSD cannot build new schools, they have to invest in other ways to make room for kids.

"As long as they (portables) are air conditioned, cool, adhesive to the rest of the school I don't think it's a problem."

And that's part of Donnelly's job, making sure portables — both old and new — are up to code and safe for both students and teachers. The portables that, he says, won't be going away anytime soon.

Despite the $7 million sticker shock, the district calls it a bargain compared to building a new school, which would roughly cost $20 million. The last ballot measure to raise money to build new schools was shot down by voters in 2012.