Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Ferry Farm to be closed again tomorrow

Ferry Farm Elementary School will be closed tomorrow as maintenance crews continue work on a gas line. Students will report to Dixon Smith Middle School again tomorrow morning.

Kindergartners and first graders will then go to nearby Grafton Village Elementary and the remaining students will stay at Dixon Smith.

There are 598 students at Ferry Farm, and the other two schools have been creative in finding room for their unexpected guests, said Valerie Cottongim, spokeswoman for Stafford County Public Schools.

Overall, the day has gone pretty well, she said.

“It wouldn’t be something we want to do longterm, but it’s working for today,” Cottongim said.

The problem started Tuesday afternoon, when people attending an afternoon meeting smelled gas. The schools called in maintenance workers who tried until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday to fix a leaky pipe, Cottongim said. It became clear then that it wouldn’t be fixed in time for students to attend school. So they canceled for Wednesday.

Maintenance workers continued toiling round-the-clock, and Wednesday evening, they discovered that the problem was bigger than originally thought. They repaired some leaks but found more further down the gas line. They then determined the line would need to be replaced, not repaired. At 10 p.m. last night, word went out that Ferry Farm would not open this morning and students would instead report to Dixon Smith Middle School.

School staff expect Ferry Farm to open Tuesday. All Stafford schools are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.