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District to add four portables this summer

Sam Heikell, Sports Editor

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The school district will add four portable classrooms this summer to prepare for the 2017-2018 school year.

With an ongoing influx of students in Seattle Public Schools, it’s seemingly inevitable that every school will eventually need to add portable classrooms, this one coming only 17 years after Ballard’s latest remodel.

The heavy student population of 1,818 is set to go up a notch, raising to an estimated 1,904 students for the upcoming school year.

The planned portables will be located on the Northwest and Southeast side of the school and with installation beginning over the summer. (Sam Heikell)

Two portables will be located on the north side of the school, outside and between the home economics and science pods. Preparing for the move in process, science teacher Eric Muhs has already had to clear a couple of classroom projects out of the way. A “solar death ray” was built as a classroom physics project, using a homemade reflecting dish to harness the sun’s light and use it to heat water. Also, Muhs had a polar aligned telescope pier setup for his astronomy classes that needed to be removed.

The other two portables will likely be installed outside of the commons, where the astroturf planter box currently sits.

Installing the classrooms won’t affect the tight school budget and are funded by the school district.

“[The classrooms] are taken care of by the capital budget,” Principal Keven Wynkoop said. “The furniture and everything else is covered by the capital budget as well so the new classes will have all new furniture.”

With a growing number of students, the school will need to be hiring a couple more teachers.

“We have about a half dozen positions that we are planning to hire for,” Wynkoop said. “Most of them are part time positions but we’ll be able to keep up with enrollment so class sizes don’t increase.”

Being a student in an overcrowded school may be difficult, the hallways get crowded, not everyone gets a locker and the teachers have a lot on their plate. But in the next few years, the projected student enrollment is said to progressively go down.

“We have a two year window where the school is going to continue to get a lot bigger, and then Lincoln High School will open in the fall of 2019, and then [our enrollment] should drop precipitously,” Wynkoop said. “We will probably be about 500 students smaller in the fall of 2019 than we were the June before that. So the anticipation is that all of the portables would leave before that year.”

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District to add four portables this summer