The Carroll Board of Education awarded a...


The Carroll Board of Education awarded a $188,460 annual contract for the lease-purchase of five portable units to International Shelter,the second lowest bidder.

The units will be placed at the Multi-Service Community Center in Westminster, where students from Sandymount Elementary will be housed during a reconstruction project at their school.

Each of the units contains four classrooms. The new portables will bring the number of system-owned relocatable classrooms in Carroll to 96, said Vernon F. Smith Jr., director of school support services.The district also has use of several state-owned classrooms.

Under the contract, the school system will lease the portables for $15,455 a month or $188,460 a year. The costs include mechanic/maintenance services. The district has the option of leasing the units for five years and then assuming ownership.

The board considered leasing portables but the lowest bid was more than $400,000 for a 14-month lease.

"We believe there is a long-term benefit to going to this system," said Superintendent R. Edward Shilling of the lease-purchase option.

The benefits include providing additional classroom housing forstudents while schools, such as Mechanicsville Elementary, undergo expansions or renovations, school officials said.

Concerned about student safety, board members said they prefer to house students in portables rather than buildings under renovation.

School officials declined to recommend that the lowest bidder, Gelco, receive the contract because the firm's performance was "less than satisfactory" at placing portables at other elementaries five years ago.

"This is a critical project," Smith said. "Time is of the essence . . . We don't believe there is any room for risk taking."

Board vice president Cheryl A. McFalls said it was urgent to get the portables in place in time for the start of the new school year.

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