Portable classrooms easing overcrowding at several Washoe County schools

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The start of the new school year begins Monday and one local elementary school is preparing to accommodate more students.

Brown Elementary is the largest elementary school in the Washoe County School District. Around 870 students will be walking the halls on Monday, so to help with the overcrowding, four more portable classrooms are being installed. "We've had to use portables just to keep up with the growth," said WCSD Chief Operating Officer Pete Etchart.

The school district is relying on portable classrooms to ease overcrowding at several schools throughout the district. "The portables are going to help us so that all the classrooms are smaller class size and we don't double up and have 40 in a classroom," said Brown Elementary Principal Angie Bryan.

Brown Elementary School will soon have a total of ten portable classrooms. "Well we have a lot of growth, its occurred in the past and we're continuing to see increase growth, especially in the Double Diamond, Damonte Ranch area," said Etchart.

Etchart said portable units are a temporary solution, but he said ultimately, another elementary school is needed in the Damonte Ranch area. "We're hoping to talk to our Board of Trustees here in the next month about growth, we've been talking to the legislature in the past about growth, and right now we have a lot of needs, but do not have the financial resources to build those new schools at this time."

Area 5 Superintendent Chad Hicks said after the two additional portable units are installed at Brown Elementary, there will not space for any more, so he said a long term solution will have to happen. "We're going to be in a position here in the future, where it's going to have to happen because we're reaching capacity at a lot of our surrounding sites."

There are currently 94 portable units throughout the School District, with most of them containing two classrooms each. The District hopes to buy about 15 more from the $5.7 million they received from the state.