Williams Scotsman

Why space-squeezed educators should choose modular for the 2017-18 school year

When middle-school students at Magellan International School in Austin, Texas, outgrew their classrooms, school administrators knew they needed to find a space solution for the 2016-17 academic year. Pleased with the portable preschool classrooms and primary campus office space they had leased from William Scotsman in the past, administrators now looked to the company for a customized solution for its middle school.

“Simply put, the space had to feel fresh and innovative; it had to inspire community and feel like a value-add at our current price point for middle-school tuition,” says Crystal Estrada, the school’s director of finance and operations. “Based on student and parent feedback to date, I would say that we were successful in accomplishing this task.”

Modular Space and the School System

Modular space has never been more important to the North American school system as it is now, as Magellan International School can attest. Here are a few reasons why:

With about 180,000 units currently in use, North American school districts collectively are the largest users of relocatable classrooms, according to the Modular Building Institute. California schools own the most, with almost 90,000 units. Texas schools follow with about 20,000 units and Florida schools own about 17,000. These populous states and others will continue to need new and more space as aging and outdated facilities, overcrowded classrooms, growing student populations and shifting demographics impact communities everywhere. Research initiatives funded by private industry and alumni may also spur construction of new higher education facilities.

There are 6,700 charter schools with nearly 3 million students across 43 states and the District of Columbia. With these kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder that charters have been a powerful force, celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2016. Williams Scotsman has already helped solve space needs at charters, like Profectus Valor Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

There is an emerging trend toward privatization and designing schools for the real world – like Oracle constructing its own high school -- which may help counter-balance a decline in education sector construction due to stagnant high school graduation rates, as predicted in this December 2016 report.

From individual classrooms to multi-story school buildings and even entire university campuses, our products can assist just about any school system with temporary and long-term academic space needs. 

3 reasons to work with us for the 2017-18 school year:

Decrease costs

Depending on your need, leasing our units can reduce operational costs. If you’re considering a long-term solution, purchasing a modular unit instead of leasing one may save you more over time. Consider using the power of a cooperative purchasing network such as the National IPA to procure your modular solution. The National IPA will save you time and money because a government entity acts as the lead agency, competitively soliciting and publicly awarding contracts to suppliers, eliminating the bid process. Learn more about Williams Scotsman’s vendor contract to provide modular buildings, portable storage and relocatable walkways at competitively bid pricing to member educational institutions here.

Save time

Williams Scotsman has long been a trusted partner for schools looking to quickly increase access to learning spaces for students. When Anawalt Elementary received some distressing news that its existing school building was being condemned, they had to act fast before the next school year commenced. Our modular solutions provided a new school for students in three months.

Increase flexibility

Our modular classrooms are designed to meet both specific educational purposes and unique space challenges. Multiple design options, including a variety of sizes and add-on options including steps, ramps and awnings, can make your temporary academic space blend harmoniously with an existing campus or stand out on its own.


For Magellan International School’s Estrada, collaborating with Williams Scotsman in designing modular classrooms was “the most fun, creative and easiest part of the process -- from adding a balcony on the second floor to adding floor-to-ceiling vinyl overlay walls, which students use for visual thinking; choosing balcony railings to selecting floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum amounts of natural light – they (Williams Scotsman) understood our need to push boundaries on what people consider ‘normal’ in classroom portables.”

Williams Scotsman’s portable classroom solutions offer a variety of instructional space options for every facet of the education market, including preschool, primary, secondary, college and university. Learn more about our instructional space offerings here.

Discover how Williams Scotsman is a trusted partner for all space-related challenges
Get To Know Us
  • author

    Williams Scotsman