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Ravenswood students to attend school in churches this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A gas line repair is forcing 300 students out of Ravenswood Grade School through at least the end of the week.

The students will be divided up and attend classes at three area churches until repairs are completed and they are cleared to return to the building.

The third grade will relocate to First Baptist Church, the fourth grade to Calvary Baptist, and the fifth grade to Praise Cathedral.

The relocation will begin Wednesday -- school is canceled today to allow teachers time to revise lesson plans, and school officials time to prepare church facilities for the onslaught of children. Parents are being notified by phone with the county's automated message system, and the school's website. 

Jackson County Superintendent Blaine Hess said the gas line problem is probably the result of normal wear and tear on aging pipes. He said water had been getting into the gas lines, causing consistent problems.

"Taking stock we realized we needed to replace a line," he said. "There's never a convenient time for this, but luckily we have a lot of civic partners to help."

The problem with the line isn't dangerous, but the repairs mean that the building must go without heat for a few days. With a less-than-balmy weather forecast for the rest of the week, Hess thought the only alternative to canceling school was to place the students elsewhere.

"We might have been able to tough it out," he said. "But we don't want to take chances."

Faculty and staff are spending today packing necessary supplies and transporting them to the new locations. In the morning students will be picked up as usual, then bussed to the alternate locations.

Even with all the shuffling, officials believe the plan will minimize disruption to the school day. Hess expects the students to "take it in stride."

"Kids are flexible, sometimes more flexible than adults," he said.

Contact writer Shay Maunz at or 304-348-4886.


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