SANFORD — There will be potties in the new portable classroom on the Margaret Chase Smith School campus after all.

Superintendent David Theoharides told a group of parents at a meeting last week that a decision had been made to install two bathrooms in the portable unit that will hold two classrooms. Upward of 40 students in grade two or three will use the classrooms this school year.

The school department had originally planned for students in the portable classroom to use bathroom facilities in the main school building, estimated at 25 feet away.

The change of heart pleased Margaret Chase Smith School PTA member Ed Cormier, who was a leader in the quest to install the toilet facilities.

“I believe parents made enough of an impact on the School Committee and the Administration that they went back to revisit the idea,” said Cormier in an email. “I am very happy that we had 20 parents and teachers at the meeting.”

The approximately 25- foot walk worried Cormier, who noted that meant youngsters would have to walk outside the building in all types of weather to access bathrooms inside the elementary school.

State guidelines say plumbing for portable classrooms is optional.

The portable classroom is necessary, Theoharides said, because the district learned in May that there will be an increase in the number of special education kindergarten students coming to the school in September. With the K-3 Margaret Chase Smith School already stretched for space – there has been one portable there since 2005 – it seemed a second was the only viable solution.

Theoharides said in a prior interview that he explored the bathroom issue, and that toilets could be installed relatively cheaply, but at the time, the portable was to be installed near a side of a building without water and sewer readily available – and would cost $16,000 – $20,000 to implement. Now, the location has been changed and the new portable will be installed near an existing portable unit. Playground equipment located on the spot will be moved.

“We are in the process of finding funding or a possible in-kind donation,” said Theoharides of costs associated with the installation.

The portable unit will be installed onsite Aug. 24. School begins Sept. 2.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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