During the March 9 Chesterfield County Public Schools board meeting, the board approved up to $7.7 million to purchase “mega trailers” for three schools.
The mega trailers, which have restrooms and cafeteria units, include three for Falling Creek Middle School and one each for Hening and Chalkley elementary schools.
Josh Davis, chief operations officer, noted that the school district had approved a lease of the five mega trailers almost two years ago for use at Crestwood and Reams elementary schools.
“Those buildings have served those schools very, very well,” Davis said. “We’ve come up with a great plan for those assets…”
An entire grade level at Falling Creek Middle School is housed in 20-plus smaller trailers, he said.
The purchase will be paid for with “millions of dollars [that]remain available” from closed-out construction projects, he said.
“I’m excited … about upgrading the trailers,” Midlothian board member Kathryn Haines said, adding that she’s looking forward to the day when they’re not needed.
“They are going to bring great relief,” Dale board member Debbie Bailey said, noting that Falling Creek Middle and Hening Elementary schools are located in her district.
Bailey called the mega trailers “a good band-aid.” She said that some say that when they are in them, they don’t even realize they are not in a school building.
Bailey noted that a rebuild of Falling Creek Middle School is included in the next capital improvement plan.
The mega trailers will be in place by this fall, displacing 43 smaller trailers.
According to a board document, the purpose of the mega trailers is to alleviate space pressures, enhance safety and replace existing modular classrooms that are beyond their useful life.
The costs include purchase, installation, setup, utility and site work and removal of the old trailers. The contract is for $7.33 million.
Ecoff to use ‘School House System’
As part of the consent agenda, the board approved a $10,000 grant from the Joyner Foundation to implement a School House System at Ecoff Elementary School. The School House System divides the school into five houses with all of the grades represented in each house. The School House System promotes the school’s core values and teaches students how to live as a family.
Graduation locations discussed
During a work session prior to the March 9 business meeting, the board discussed preparations for 2021 high school graduations.
Previously used locations at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University are not available, CCPS staff said.
“We can’t publicize dates and times at this point,” said Belinda Merriman, director of high school leadership. “Football fields are a possibility. We’re waiting additional guidance from the state.”
“We have stadiums that hold 4,000 people,” Superintendent Merv Daugherty said, noting the district could put students on the field using social distancing.
On March 17, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced guidelines for high school and college graduations, including a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of capacity, whichever is less, for outdoor events and 500 people or 30 percent of capacity for indoor events. Attendees must wear masks and follow other safety protocols to ensure proper distancing, the order states.