The modular classrooms at Ecole Willows School are just about complete. Mark Walsh, secretary-treasurer of SD61, is pretty confident that students will be able to move in by Remembrance Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Willows portables nearing completion

The long wait is almost over for Ecole Willows students and teachers

Two classes at Ecole Willows School will soon be learning in bright, quiet, new classrooms. The portables that had been slated for September are now almost complete.

The students have been working in the gym and library since the start of school due to a delay in the completion of the portables. The modular classrooms were the result of the District requiring additional space and determining that the most cost-effective and long-term solution to the issue would be a locally designed and built modular space.

“We made them to be great learning spaces that we’re going to be really proud of as a school district,” says Mark Walsh, secretary-treasurer for SD61.

As with many new initiatives, there were setbacks along the way. In the long-term, though, these modular classrooms may prove to be the new standard. Many of the products have been sourced locally, are environmentally friendly, will be longer lasting, and result in a beautiful looking space. The lifespan of these modular classrooms is 50 years, which is significantly longer than traditional portables. Their modular construction will also allow them to be broken down into panels for easy transport to a different location when student numbers fluctuate.

The hardwood floors and furnace are currently being installed at the Willows portables. Cabinets will be next. A TEC learning package with wifi will also be installed, ensuring a top-quality learning environment for the students.

“It’s really important that we do express our appreciation to the staff, the parents, and students for their patience,” says Walsh.

He is pretty optimistic that the portables will be complete in time for the school to have access to their gym for the Remembrance Day ceremony. The build will be close enough to completion to allow students to move in, though there may be finishing touches to do afterwards.


Sketch of modular classrooms being built at Ecole Willows school. (photo - SD61 website)

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