November 9th, 2011
At campuses across the state, thousands of portables—also known as modular classrooms—have been dropped onto hard courts or field spaces as afterthoughts to the original school design. This add-on strategy to address rapid enrollment growth and the resulting emphasis to deliver schools as inexpensively as possible has compromised the integrity of school designs and their associated instructional programs.
A Quick-fix History
Prior to 1998, the California State Lease Purchase Program (LPP) required that new school construction projects design in at least 30 percent of classroom spaces as portable. The concept was that portable classrooms could be moved from school to school to accommodate enrollment changes in a local district from one school boundary to another. The sudden advent of K-3 class size reduction and the rapid population growth of the 1990s accounted for portable classroom “tent cities” on campuses.