Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

Divide and Conquer

Santa Monica Boulevard Elementary Charter School was using filing cabinets to separate one large multipurpose room into a technology center, storage area, office and one-on-one learning environment for special education students. After a quick search on the Internet, the school found an affordable and timely solution to their problem: Screenflex Portable Room Dividers.

Like so many other schools in Southern California and across the nation, they were extremely cramped for space. “Needless to say, it wasn’t working out,” said Linda Lee Technology coordinator at the school. “The students could see right into the other work areas and it was extremely noisy and distracting for everyone.”

Lee knew she would have to make the most of the space she had to work with. The charter simply couldn’t afford any additional classrooms, and even if it could, waiting was not an option. The campus was expecting 1,500 students in the fall and her special education students would be without a private place where resource specialists could conduct speech therapy.

“Everything I needed was right there on the Screeflex website,” said Linda. “I placed the order and in less than three months, I had the space I needed at a cost our school could afford.”

For approximately $10,000, the large multipurpose room was transformed into three nice-sized rooms and a storage area. The walls are 6-feet tall and include three doors that help to create more private study and work areas, as well as mallard green designer fabric that blends in nicely with in the school’s decor and surroundings.

Screenflex designed the room dividers so that speech therapy could be conducted in one area, teachers could prepare lesson plans in another and items could be stored in the remaining section. All of the dividers are on casters so they can be easily wheeled away and stored in just minutes. This versatility makes dividers an excellent alternative not only to conventional construction, but to modular classrooms as well.

“As your needs change, you can open a room back up and you would never know the dividers were there,” said Steve Bonesz Marketing manager at Screenflex. “That is the beauty of portable room dividers.”

“A school may have tremendous growth one year, but a significant decline the next,” said Bonesz. “Portable room dividers allow your school to change its use of space as its needs change at a much lower cost than using modular classrooms.”

This article originally appeared in the School Planning & Management July 2013 issue of Spaces4Learning.