WINK News first told you about the concern for conditions of portable classrooms at Varsity Lakes Middle School in April. The portables had chipped cinder blocks, supports were off-center, and window frames were rusted just to name a few things.
Construction to fix those issues began in June and is set to finish before school starts on August 10. The improvements came in under budget, as the construction company did the work and will return $15,000 dollars to the district.
They expect that the money and the newly-renovated portables will do so much good for students and their education.
Pictures of portable classrooms at Varsity Lakes made Lee County School Board member Gywn Gittens very upset. They made her sad as well, that’s why she sent them to WINK News back in April.
“When I came and took those first pictures I was in tears, and when I came again yesterday. I was in tears again, because as I walked around to see what we can do and how much improvement we can make,” Gittens said.
The improvements can be seen as clear as day. The support beams are now realigned, there’s new sod and new flowers, new doors and the rust is gone.
Lerin Byrd is the president of GCG Construction which is the company responsible for the portables’ facelifts.
“The first time seeing the conditions, we definitely understood the concerns and we really wanted the teachers and students to feel invited when they come to school every day,” Byrd said.
Their team added new piers, foundations, ramps and new stairs in addition to new drainage systems. The company was also able to tackle some work inside.
“We were able to focus on some of the exterior and interior renovations to beautify what the kids are coming to every day, new smart boards, new whiteboards,” said Byrd.
Gittens says that the improvements will help show students that the school district cares about them. “We have a lot of students that are in that level one and two-level and three-level, and trying to bring them up, and it’s not that they can’t learn, it’s that we need to show them how to learn, and that it’s fun to learn, and that we care about them learning,” said Gittens.
When those pictures were first sent to WINK News, a spokesperson for the district said that The School District of Lee County was already on top of it and had scheduled renovations.
Gittens believes that eventually, the renovations would’ve taken place without the pictures but that taking the pictures put more eyes on the problem.
Varsity Lakes new principal, just six weeks into the job, also played a huge role in the renovations.