City says school system can build more classrooms

Manassas City Council has given the school system a green light to build more modular classrooms.

The City Council voted 5-1 Monday night to increase the number of trailers serving as classrooms from six to seven at Baldwin Elementary School and from three to five at Hayden Elementary School.

With a growing number of non-English-speaking students requiring special classes, more space is needed, school officials say.

Councilwoman Judith A. Hays wondered Monday night whether the school system’s use of more trailers will ever end.

“There should be a shelf life on any additional buildings. And there should be something saying that the trailers should only be there for so many years,” she said.

The city’s Planning Commission voiced similar sentiments Nov. 6, when it recommended that the trailers be replaced as soon as possible, hopefully within five years.

City Manager Lawrence Hughes agreed Monday night that trailer classrooms are a bad thing. But he believed that school officials were the best people to develop a timetable to get rid of them.

“I don’t know what the shelf life is on these trailers,” he said.

The school system should be given the room to develop its own plans for future buildings, said Councilman Robert (Bob) Oliver.

“We better let them stay on the trailers for now, because there’s no available money,” he said.

Mayor Marvin L. Gillum expressed optimism that the school system will eventually find a solution.

“They are acutely aware of space needs. And they are actively working on it. I think this will be taken care of soon,” he said.

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