3 Successful Shipping Container Schools & Classrooms
Shipping containers have an almost endless array of uses after they have travelled the world delivering goods. One of the most recent uses has been as schools and classrooms – whether as an IT suite at an orphanage in Africa, a classroom space in a UK state school or a whole private school in fashionable Orange County, California.
Let’s look at the orphanage in Africa first.
DigiTruck in Africa
The charity Close the Gap and electronics recycling company Arrow came up with the idea of using a recycled, insulated and solar powered 40ft shipping container as an IT classroom for an orphanage in Tanzania. Inside the container are several rows of desks that have repurposed laptops and tablets for the children to use.
Less than half of Africa’s population has access to electricity, and as such the DigiTruck is solar powered to provide the energy for the computers inside to run.
There is a firm belief that education can free people from poverty, and providing children with access to the internet and getting them computer literate is an important first step to helping them compete in the digital age. Up to 18 orphans can use the IT suite at a time at the 80 strong orphanage in Tuleemi, Tanzania, and this is significantly improving their life chances.
The shipping container system was chosen because it is secure, and can be moved between villages. This way, the system can benefit hundreds of children in a region every year. After the first DigiTruck was commissioned, four other US companies decided to sponsor similar DigiTrucks for schemes across Africa. In this way a simple, cheap and affective scheme could end up supporting thousands of children around the world who would otherwise have no access to the internet or IT.
When the DigiTruck moves on to the next village, all the electronics are donated to the children using it, thereby giving them permanent access to IT systems and helping future generations connect to the world outside.
Shipping container state school in the UK
As well as supporting children in extreme poverty, shipping containers can be used to help trim the costs of building state schools. Public education budgets in the UK are being slashed as part of the government’s austerity programme, and authorities are always looking for more cost effective means of replacing ageing school buildings.
According to the local press in Bolton, near Manchester in the UK, an extension to St Bede Primary Academy using shipping containers cost AUD$1.6 million but saved the school AUD$800,000.
The new extension replaced the 140 year old former buildings. These buildings may have suited the needs of Victorian era teaching but certainly didn’t in the modern day! Deputy headteacher June Roberts said of the new building “It is the ultimate recycling project, converting containers into new modern bright and airy classrooms.”
With so much state school stock in poor repair, such shipping container innovations are giving local authorities another means of cheaply and effectively building new school buildings that meet the demands of the modern day.
Waldorf School of Orange County
A private school chain that is extremely popular with IT entrepreneurs in the US has extended its footprint by 10,000 square metres through using shipping containers. The Waldorf School of Orange County used 32 shipping containers to extend the school, whilst making it extremely visually appealing.
Most of the work on the new extension to the school was carried out offsite, minimising the impact of building work on the students’ learning experience. When the builders arrived it only took 99 days to complete the entire project on the site.
The new extension includes a library, administrative offices, science labs and a two storey auditorium for drama and music productions.
According to local reports, the USD $2million project was the largest green project in the region.
Got an idea for a shipping container school?
Has this blog triggered your imagination? Have you hit on an idea to build a village school for a community in the Outback using shipping containers? Here at Gateway Container Sales we have the right container solution to fit your unique requirements. We also have an onsite workshop for a wide variety of shipping container modifications. Contact us now – we’d love to hear from you!