BELTON — The Belton Independent School District’s board of trustees dealt with a good news, bad news situation regarding portable buildings on two elementary campuses, approving $229,520 on Tuesday to replace aging portables.

The bad news is that the portables are needed at all, but the good news is the expenditure will allow the district to replace several aging structures at Miller Heights Elementary and Southwest Elementary, district leaders said.

“Concerns over portable use was part of the 2012 bond election,” said Deputy Superintendent Eric Haugeberg. “These campuses are among the smallest and oldest in the district, and adding to the buildings is not seen as prudent.”

District leaders feel the students at those schools “deserve better than being in portables that are 20-plus years old,” he said.

Miller Heights will get four new portables and remove the oldest structures, reducing the overall number of portables from seven to five, Haugeberg said.

Southwest Elementary will remove one single portable and four doubles, replacing them with a new double portable, and another newer one relocated from Tyler Elementary.

The replacement is needed to keep students in the best possible environment, Superintendent Susan Kincannon said.

“We’re going to have to use portables at Southwest and Miller Heights until we can replace those campuses. We’re sensitive to the concerns about portables, but we need the space for those kids.”

“In an ideal world, we could replace those campuses with newer facilities,” Board President Pittenger said.

The district is facing some tough choices, Kincannon said. “It’s a challenge for us to balance needs, and we are going to be (at Miller Heights and Southwest) for a few more years.”

Lakewood Elementary also has portables, but those are used for flexible space, including music classes.

“They like having that flexible space, and those portables are not in terrible condition,” Kincannon said.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of the new portables.

The old portables will be removed and the new portables added over the summer, Haugeberg said.

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