Construction of two new portables at École Willows Elementary has been delayed to an anticipated Thanksgiving date, the Greater Victoria School District announced recently.
The two portables are part of three in total being built, one of which will go to Quadra Elementary School.
The portables, which are designed and built in-house by the school district, were initially slated for September, but that date had to be pushed back due to supply issues that happened over the summer, said Mark Walsh, secretary treasurer for the Greater Victoria School District.
“Supplier issues became known, so what we did was we allocated the crews that were on those sites to go get other places finished because we were a lot closer to being done,” Walsh said, adding the school district knew well before school started that a delay would happen, so they prepared the gym to put the students in.
“They started preparing extra recreation hours, so that the kids who are missing out in the gym during the delay have access to proper recreation.”
In four portables are being built, and 1o are being moved to schools throughout the Greater Victoria school district. The fourth is slated for construction, but the build process hasn’t begun yet.
Parents were not pleased with the delays at Willows, calling on the school district and on Willows Elementary to speed up the process.
“They [portables] sit unfinished nearly three weeks into the school year, with a promise of completion by Thanksgiving,” wrote Dr. Stephen Ross to Oak Bay News in an email. “Students housed in the gymnasium are in a bad learning situation, and the district seems unable or unwilling to do anything to expedite the process.”
A busy summer did bring in a lengthy process for the district, including the implementation of more than 80 classrooms in existing schools and the addition of 13 more portables in total. This included training and preparing 200 new teachers and educational assistants for their first school year rodeo.
“Our work crews did an amazing job for getting most of the work finished, on time, on budget, and so we’re proud of the work they did,” Walsh said. “We do appreciate the patience of the folks who are delayed, and we are sorry for that delay, so we’re working away.”
Walsh added that the external part of the portables will be finished fairly quickly, but crews still have to get inside to complete and hook up electrical, technical systems, floors and other infrastructure components.