Jeff Lovins said he figured it was time to retire once the old Marsteller Middle School finally shut its doors and the students, teachers and administration prepared to move to the new school on Sudley Manor Drive in Bristow.
“That was kind of part of it. It seemed like an opportune time,” said Lovins, 52, who began his teaching career 34 years ago at Marsteller Middle School.
“This was fine with me,” Lovins said as he took a final look around the gymnasium filled with rows of empty folding chairs and and lightly littered with programs from the Sunday afternoon ceremonies.
“I certainly didn’t have any problem with this school,” Lovins said as more than 300 alumni, students and staff and Prince William County School officials left the gym after final ceremonies at the school at 8730 Sudley Road.
Lovins said he plans to spend more time with his family.
Marsteller principal Karen Poindexter said she’s been so busy setting up the new school that she hasn’t yet packed up all of the stuff in her old office.
She said she might just leave contents of her old office in the boxes once she finally packs everything.
“It’s going to be a new look and a new beginning,” Poindexter said.
Poindexter said she has always wanted to open a new school and is pleased to be going to the new school in September.
The old school was built to accommodate 835 students, but enrolled 940 students last year.
Poindexter said the new school can hold 1,240 students.
Most of the students, Poindexter said, are ready to move but others have mixed feelings.
“They’re excited,” Poindexter said of the majority of the students.
“There are a few eighth-graders who are sad, but the others are looking forward to it,” Poindexter said.
Carolyn Hutcherson retired from Marsteller Middle School in 2001 and came to the closing ceremonies. She said she was sad to see the school close.
“I worked here under all of the principals. The new building is high-tech and it’s going to be really nice, but I really like this building,” said Hutcherson, 58.
The Manassas Baptist Church, which owns the property next to the old school, bought Marsteller. Hutcherson said that makes her happy.
She said it will be nice to call the building the “Old Marsteller Middle School.”
Although the church has extensive renovation plans, Hutcherson said she expects little change to the exterior of the building.
“I think it’s going to be interesting to see what the church does with it and how it evolves,” Hutcherson said.
Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.