Eight classes will be housed in modular buildings without bathrooms at Ferry Farm Elementary this school year.
At a special called meeting Wednesday evening, the Stafford County School Board approved the $219,500 lease of four double-classroom modular buildings to house eight total classes, as well as a single modular building for main office staff.
The eight classes and the administrative staff will need to be relocated for the upcoming renovation of the school, portions of which were built in 1955, making it the oldest school building in the county.
The School Board and county Board of Supervisors have approved a $12.7 million renovation of existing classrooms, the library, the art room, the main office suite and the basement of the 1955, 1966 and 1988 portions of the school, as well as the construction of a new addition.
Supervisors, who control the purse strings, approved funding for the initial $10.8 million project in June 2018. An additional $1.9 million for the basement was approved in February.
According to a report presented to the School Board on Wednesday, school division staff requested that on-call design firm Moseley Architects create plans for the modular classroom space in March.
Staff opened two bids on the project, one in May and one in June, but bids received were either over budget or not in line with the requirements of the project.
“People are not bidding on this [modular construction] stuff,” said DeWayne McOsker, who represents the George Washington District, where Ferry Farm is located, on the School Board.
School division staff then decided to enter into an existing contract with Henrico County Public Schools to lease modular buildings.
McOsker said he heard from constituents who are not happy about the fact that the modular classrooms do not have bathrooms.
“At this point, it is what it is,” he said.
He said the division needs to move forward quickly with installing modular classroom spaces if the larger renovation is project to proceed.
According to the staff report, the division will hire two temporary staff members to “aid in escorting students to and from the main building and to aid in the safety and security of the students.”
Aquia District representative Irene Egan said she could not support leasing modular buildings without bathrooms.
Installation of the modular units is supposed to begin this month and be “substantially complete no later than Sept. 27, with completion by Oct. 13.”
Classes—which begin Aug. 12—will be held in the existing Ferry Farm building until then, division spokesperson Sherrie Johnson said.
Johnson said a design for the larger renovation project has been approved and gave December 2020 as a “targeted completion date.”