Participants in Manassas City community outreach campaign want to see the school board replace or refurbish aging facilities while eliminating the need for classroom trailers, according to a synopsis of comments received by the board on Tuesday night.
The report was a compilation of comments culled from about 200 participants who attended a community outreach meeting last week to talk about growth and what type of public facilities Manassas will need in the coming years. In general, participants wanted the school system to do something about aging facilities they felt were inadequate for district students. The 7,100-student district will add about 500 to the school system over the next decade.
Not surprisingly, participants targeted older facilities. Parents suggested the district look at replacing both of Baldwin Elementary (built in the early 1960's and the oldest school in the City of Manassas) and Jennie Dean Elementary School. Participants were also concerned with mold issues at Baldwin, computer lab space at both schools and whether an older facility like Jennie Dean could be brought up to speed technology-wise.
Participants also expressed concern about projected capacity problems at Mayfield Intermediate School and Osbourn High School. Neither will be able to handle the load of anticipated growth. Participants suggested finishing the renovation of the second floor of the Joseph B. Johnson Learning Center, which is adjacent to the high school. The renovated space could house a cyber school or magnet program.
New district Superintendent Catherine Magouyrk offered no immediate analysis of the comments at the meeting, but said all public input will be bundled into an overarching proposal to address the district’s most pressing needs, called a “100-day plan,” which she will convey to the board next month. The delivery of the plan will coincide with her first 100 days with the district. Magouyrk, hired over the summer, was the associate superintendent at the Douglas County School System in Georgia.
Magouyrk did say she was looking at two specific issues identified in the comments, the use of classroom trailers and a new home for the system’s administrators, who are now spread in offices across the district. The community doesn’t like the idea of trailers and the district will have to add another 46 to meet projected growth, she said.
Board Member Ellen M. Purdy applauded the report, but said the board had to move ahead with caution.
“We have to apply some appetite suppressant as we move forward because it’s clear that we can’t afford everything,” Purdy said. “There are a lot of things on that (participant’s) list that we are being asked for.”
There are two more citizen engagement meetings scheduled; on Nov. 7, and on Dec. 4. Those will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield.