Portables making move, getting refresh at Vossbeck and Isom

Lynden Schools is getting plenty of mileage out of a pair of portable classrooms. Both literally and figuratively. In a busy summer for the maintenance department, one of the largest projects has included taking two well-worn portable classrooms from the Main Street Campus (former home to Lynden Middle School) and moving them to Bernice Vossbeck Elementary, complete with a full refurbish. 

The portables, both built in the 1990s, have served multiple locations across the district, but most recently at the Main Street Campus for LMS classes. They sat vacant last school year, but with enrollment continuing to climb at the three elementary schools, they were needed at Vossbeck. 

“Since we had those portables already built, we thought it would make the most sense to remodel those and bring them over,” says Reed Gillig, Lynden Schools maintenance supervisor. “They are on site now and being lowered onto the foundations.” 

Then come the remodel. Throughout August each will receive a “significant” remodel of new flooring, ceiling tiles, paint, heating and electrical systems and siding. One will also get a new roof. “They are old,” Gillig says. “They have moved around the district a little bit.” 

While Vossbeck’s two refurbished options brings the total portable count at the school to six, Isom also climbs to six portable classrooms with the addition of a newly built portable this summer. 

Each summer, maintenance starts with a long list of projects, ranging in sizes. “In May I meet with each principal and get their list of projects,” Gillig says. “There are a lot of small things.” 

Other key projects this summer have included a new fence at the Lynden Middle School site that delineates the current LMS site from the future elementary school site. The fencing also allowed the district to lease the vacant space to a local farmer who grew hay on the property. Not only does the district benefit from the lease, but it also means they don’t have to maintain the property.

Also at LMS, a new 20-foot by 40-foot athletics shed south of the tennis courts was finished to provide storage for the high school tennis programs, middle school physical education classes, middle school football program and Lynden Youth Sports. Two preexisting scoreboards, brought over from the old Lynden Middle School site, were reinstalled at the new fields. 

At the high school, the pathway to the ag barn was regraded to improve accessibility, which required a ramp, switchbacks and the moving of plenty of dirt. 

The bus garage has enjoyed security upgrades that include cameras, locks and electronic key fob access. 

Throughout the summer, crews will test and inspect all life safety systems — fire alarms, fire sprinklers and fire extinguishers — clean out the Main Street Campus, replace flooring and a litany of other tasks.

“There is no way we will be able to get to all of the projects on the list,” Gillig says. “We prioritize what are the most critical to be done when nobody else is around.” But just because not all projects get completed this summer doesn’t mean they won’t ever get finished. Gillig maintains the list and crews tick off as many as possible throughout the school year too.