Schools consider reusing modular classrooms

School officials are considering whether to purchase units.

The inside of a Tisbury School modular unit. —Eunki Seonwoo

Vineyard school officials are planning to put together a task force to look at potential uses for modular classrooms that are currently in use at the Tisbury School.

The discussion was held during an All-Island School Committee meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16. 

No vote was made during the meeting, but committee member Alex Salop volunteered to reach out to Island education stakeholders. 

While the Tisbury School construction project is underway, classes are being held in leased modular buildings on a temporary basis. The newly renovated school is anticipated to be ready for the start of the following school year. 

The town of Tisbury is looking at purchasing up to two of the modular buildings to use as temporary town offices. The two units are estimated to cost $2 million, and could last for up to 10 years. The request will be considered during the Tisbury Special Town Meeting in January. 

Salop said it would be good to consider what might be the best use of the other units. He suggested their use for a potential universal preschool facility. Additionally, he said, the buildings may provide an opportunity for the public school system to establish new educational partnerships. 

Committee member Robert Lionette said using the units as a centralized early-childhood education resource was another possibility, asking Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent Richie Smith to explore different models practiced in the state. 

Committee chair Amy Houghton pointed out that creating such a space would have an impact on the private preschools operating on the Island. Considering that “time is of the essence,” she suggested creating a task force to look into the matter, including a “private-public partnership.” 

“To keep the people on-Island, doing jobs, we need to find a way to provide childcare at the infant level,” she said. 

Houghton said the leases on the buildings expire on April 15, 2024, and any notification about purchasing or extending the leases would need to be given by Feb. 15, 2024. The modular units were leased from VESTA Modular. 

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools business administrator Mark Friedman said there would be “multiple steps” to undergo if an Island school district wanted one of the units. 

“They’re currently under contract with Tisbury, so Tisbury would have to take some steps, I imagine, to do some things to release them,” Friedman said, adding that procurement procedures would also need to be followed, potentially including a bidding process, since taxpayer money would be used if the units were purchased. 

Friedman added that there would be a lot of work, such as utilities and transportation logistics, to figure out, if a school district expressed interest in a unit. He also said there will likely be additional expenditures outside of just the purchase. 

“This is not simply putting out a bid and procuring them, and putting [them up on] a truck and driving them away,” he said. 

After Salop volunteered to reach out to stakeholders, the committee came to a consensus to discuss it further at a future meeting.


  1. Two million dollars for 2 used trailers that are only
    expected to last 10 years ?
    This story should be saved for the day after March 31.

  2. If I remember correctly, the town of Tisbury taxpayers have been paying out more than 80 thousand dollars a year to rent those units. Has our town administration done any negotiation in order to purchase these units at aprox. for less than million each? And why is there life value only 10 years? Also could they be stacked and used as auxiliary buildings for many of the above mentioned usages. What would be that estimated cost? And how expensive is it for the leasing company to remove the units if no other town on island want them? How about land be allocated so they could be used as housing for summer workers.?

  3. Ten years is the life span of a DoubleWide.
    Do you want to see DoubleWides on the Island?
    Tent cities?
    The leasing companies do not want used DoubleWides, they have such little value.

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