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2 churches to host Manassas students after school is damaged

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010; PW17

Students from Mayfield Intermediate School will have a new home and elementary children in Manassas will have a new school-day schedule, thanks to the local religious community, which answered the school system's cry for help after the Mayfield building was condemned because of snow damage.

Manassas Assembly of God will house the fifth-graders, and Manassas Baptist Church will house sixth-grade students beginning Monday, Manassas school officials said. Mayfield, which opened in fall 2006, was deemed unsafe after snow piled up on the school's roof.

"We're happy to be able to help," said Scott Leib, pastor of Manassas Assembly of God. "We as a church have been looking for ways to be a blessing to our county and city, and when this came up, it seemed like a natural fit."

Assembly of God officials said the church, at 11500 New Life Way in Bristow, has about 30 classrooms and a full kitchen where students can eat. Church officials voted Sunday to open for students and said they plan to do whatever they can to make them feel at home.

Officials at Manassas Baptist Church, at 8730 Sudley Rd., did not return calls seeking comment.

Because Manassas Assembly of God is in Bristow, school officials said, they have had to rework the schedule for all elementary schools. Starting Monday, elementary schools will begin at 9 a.m. instead of 8:45 and end at 3:45 p.m., not 3:30. Parents should receive a letter from the school system with more details this week.

The roughly 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade Mayfield students will probably be displaced for the rest of the year, school officials said. How much it will cost to repair the school is unclear, though the latest estimate is about $1 million. School officials said they are also still working out agreements with the churches to determine the cost of leasing the classroom space.

Fire and rescue officials entered Mayfield briefly to save classroom pets, school officials said. The fate of the school supplies, however, was not the same.

Because students and staff members are not allowed into the facility, the school system is seeking donations of glue sticks; No. 2 pencils; hand sanitizer; pencil boxes; wide-ruled notebook paper; safety scissors; highlighters; blue, black and red pens; large erasers; tissues; and colored pencils.

Donations can be left through Friday at the Carteret Mortgage Boys & Girls Club of Manassas, 9501 Dean Park Lane.

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