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20 Buildings

August 12, 2019

Classrooms, Administrative Offices and Restrooms

Paradise Lost: Rebuilding a School and a Community

Mobile Modular gets kids back in class after the Paradise Fire

Challenge

August 12, 2019: What would become the most destructive wildfire in state history started on Camp Creek Road in Paradise, California. Lasting over 17 days, the fire spared nothing in its path across 153,336 acres – homes, businesses, schools were all destroyed.


Achieve Charter School was no exception. Established in Paradise in 2005, the school emphasized a strong sense of community and character building, while providing a challenging learning environment. However, on November 8, despite the extraordinary efforts of Achieve staff, the fire proved too great to overcome.


The race was on to get the community back on track as soon as possible. This included getting the children and staff back in school and return to some form of normalcy. This community was more than up for the challenge.


On November 26, Mobile Modular received a call from Bonnie Benson, who, together with Margaret Fortune of Fortune School, was assisting charter schools of Paradise in finding temporary portable classroom solutions. They asked the team if it would be possible to make the delivery by December 3.


Mobile Modular sent a quote to Bonnie the same day, with a follow-up conference call the day after and a subsequent meeting in Chico with Bonnie and Margaret, FEMA, PG&E, architects, insurance reps, and Casey Taylor, Director of Achieve Charter.


Mobile Modular showed up in Chico at 7:00 a.m. and was the only modular company to do so.


With the hopes of getting the kids and staff back into the classrooms as soon as possible, the team set a goal to put a modular school building together by January 7. At that point, all classes were being held at a church. It was decided that Mobile Modular would bring in eight 24 x 40 classrooms starting in December.


These eight classrooms offered a viable solution in the interim. During this time, Mobile Modular and community leaders were able to work towards completing a larger campus on a vacant field next to the church that could adequately accommodate the student body, which would open the next school year.

Solution

From the initial conversations with the school district in the chaotic moments following the fire, the Mobile Modular team managed to not only provide information surrounding quotes and contracts, but was also able to serve as a resource for approval agencies, architects, contractors, and other key decision-makers throughout the process.


After determining site layout, building placement, and obtaining all necessary local permits, Mobile Modular began delivering units the week of May 13 – as soon as the Achieve Charter School received the green light from the city. When the field was properly prepared, Mobile Modular would place and deliver:


  • One 36 x 40 science classroom
  • One 36 x 40 office
  • Eight more 24 x 40 classrooms
  • Two 12 x 40 restrooms
  • Relocate the first original eight classrooms that were delivered in December to the new field.

On August 13, Achieve held a grand opening ceremony, and on August 14, the school started. Children, staff, and parents looked on with excitement and emotion at the new campus, which symbolized a return to normalcy.


Through a concerted team effort involving Chico Unified School District, Fortune School, PG&E, local government representatives, and numerous volunteers, Mobile Modular was able to give Achieve a functioning campus in only just seven months. As Achieve Executive Director Casey Taylor put it, “You won’t believe what we built in seven months with your help! It’s seriously one for the record books.”


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