More portables coming to Tri-Cities schools

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Tri-Cities schools could be spending millions on more portables by summer.

The added classroom space is a necessity as each district adds hundreds of new kids every school year.

Christie Waguespack has two kids in the Kennewick School system.
She sees firsthand how the schools struggle to fit more and more onto campus each year.

"We have several schools are going to be remodeled and redone, but are they going to be bigger? Are they going to have more teachers? Are we going to have more class space?" Christie asks.

It's a valid question.

Especially when you consider that all three school districts are planning to add portable classrooms.

Kennewick alone is looking to add as many as 20 new portables. And at schools like Westgate Elementary, there could be as many as five on campus before this school year even gets over.

Kennewick is proposing the purchase to the school board Wednesday.

It would include seven portables for schools that were recently remodeled, or built from the ground up.

Pasco's struggles are no different.

The district passed a bond to build more schools, but are still looking to add 14 portable classrooms before the next school year.

"The kids are already here. That's the one thing, is, we're making a dent in this huge population that we have," says Pasco's Assistant Superintendent of Operations John Morgan.

And those portables don't come cheap.

Costing more than $100,000 just for the building and not the interiors, the purchases could cost local districts more than $3 million.

Most will be paid with bond money and impact fees. Christie would still like to see more permanent buildings.

"We're tying to put a band-aid on something that's already happened, so, you know, it's kind of like, let's stop the flow, but we need to come up with a different plan," Christie says.

"It's not just a band-aid, we're meeting the needs of the students," Morgan says.

And those needs include space to learn when the rest of the building won't handle all the kids who enroll.

Three new schools in Pasco are set to open for the 2015-2016 school year.

Calls to the Richland school district about their plans for portables were not immediately returned.