Late portable classrooms are creating a musical-chairs scenario for teachers.

An example of a portable classroom sold by Williams Scotsman, taken from the company's website.

Deer Creek Elementary School opens its doors to students next week — and while the school will have enough space to accommodate them all, it might take more flexibility than expected.

Last spring, the Tigard-Tualatin School District ordered two portable classrooms from Williams Scotsman, a modular building manufacturer based in Baltimore. Crowding has been an issue at Deer Creek, and the school planned to use the portable classrooms for its two fifth-grade classes.

Early last week, the two fifth-grade teachers at Deer Creek got word that their portable classrooms wouldn't be arriving until about a week after the school start date of Sept. 5, meaning that they'd have to make due with the school's library as a makeshift classroom space for the first week of school.

"The principal (Jarvis Gomes) met with those two teachers, and they determined that the best place for those classes to be would be in the library," said Susan Stark Haydon, the district's director of community relations.

Last Wednesday, Aug. 23 — just a few days after Deer Creek teachers learned they'd be moving into their new classrooms later than expected — investment company Double Eagle Acquisition Corp. announced its plan to buy Williams Scotsman for $1.1 billion.

The next day, the district learned that Williams Scotsman was again pushing the portable classroom delivery date, this time to late September.

"I think we're wondering now, with the company being sold, how much we can even trust that end-of-September date," Stark Haydon said last week.

So the district came up with a new plan, this one meant to function even if the portable classroom delivery gets delayed indefinitely. Deer Creek had been reserving one classroom in the event that it would need an additional kindergarten class. That turned out not to be necessary, so one fifth grade class will go to that classroom. The other will go to a classroom that was first intended for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) use. The STEAM teacher will use other spaces in the school building until the portable classrooms are set up.

The Times reached out to Williams Scotsman late last week for a comment, and asked whether the company's recent sale was affecting its delivery timelines. The company did not address that question, but did send a statement through a public relations representative:

"Williams Scotsman understands there is a delay in the scheduled delivery of the portable units for Deer Creek Elementary. We sincerely regret the inconvenience this is causing, but this unfortunate situation is beyond our control. We are currently investigating the issue and evaluating all of the options now. We will continue to keep the school informed about next steps."

As of Monday, Stark Haydon said the district still was expecting the portable classrooms to arrive by the end of September.

"Our students will not see any change in their instruction or experiences in the classroom," Gomes said in an email to the Times. "Once the portable is installed the classes will be moved right away."

Blair Stenvick
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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