New Rental System Accommodates Life.Church Mansfield

Ryland Mallett

The Legacy Performing Arts Center is open for rentals on Beginning Oct. 27, Life.Church Mansfield will rent out the space for worship services.

After changes in the district facility rentals procedures, Life.Church Mansfield will begin Sunday worship services Oct. 27 in the PAC. Morning services will begin at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 and youth services, called “Switch,” will take place once a month on Sunday afternoons.

“We believe the church isn’t a building, it’s the people,” Life.Church Mansfield Pastor Sam Russo said. “We’ve seen over and over — through our church and others—that it’s completely possible to have church without a permanent building in place.”

The church staff held a test run meeting Oct. 20, a week before the services start. Life.Church will also rent the cafeteria as a space to have children’s Sunday school while the adults are in the PAC.

“The district has been great to work with, and the facility’s leadership is always quick to respond whenever we have a need,” Russo said. “It has been an incredibly smooth process, and we’re so grateful to the staff for all their help.”

A number of Mansfield residents traveling to Fort Worth and Keller Life.Church locations every Sunday encouraged Life.Church to buy land at 3601 Turner Warnell Rd. to build a new location. Until the church building is ready, the more than 500 interested people will use Legacy’s facilities on Sunday mornings.

“Our staff and volunteers are excited to welcome our neighbors to church — no matter what they look like, where they’ve been, or what they’re going through,” Russo said. “Life.Church is for everyone, and we know when you walk through our doors, you’ll feel welcome.”

Priority of the Legacy facilities goes to all student activities. To help manage an increasing number of rental requests in the last few years, MISD has begun using Facilitron Inc. as a platform for the public to rent the building if it is available. 

“[Legacy faculty members] have no say-so whatsoever,” facilities associate principal John Contreras said. “That’s not a bad thing, and I prefer not to. It’s just at the district level because the district is renting other facilities to outside groups.”

While Legacy staff has no role in the rental process, a district employee’s presence is required anytime an outside group uses the building. Additionally, the renter must pay for the services of a district sound and light technician when they need to use the building’s equipment and soon other qualified MISD employees will fill the need for facility technicians. Until then, Ferman is required to fill this role for any rentals.

Yes, physically, the space is available, but you can’t just come into the PAC and turn a light switch on and make it work.”

— Jeremy Ferman

“Yes, physically, the space is available, but you can’t just come into the PAC and turn a light switch on and make it work,” Ferman said. “It’s been frustrating just because the communication has been tough and the lack of notification as to what the expectation is. We need to refine the process of communication and how everything is booked.”

Several MISD campuses also serve as places of worship on Sundays. The intermediate schools are rented the most because they have fewer after school activities. The revenue from all district rentals goes into the district’s general fund and not directly to the school. The rentals are managed by the Director of Facility Operations, Scott Shafer.

“I think the district’s rental system is beneficial and effective for several reasons,” Shafer said. “It provides the district additional revenue to fund programs and other expenses it might not be able to do if not for the additional money generated through renting our facilities.”

Life.Church Mansfield has had three meetings in the PAC so far including the Oct. 20 meeting and final meeting before the Sunday services start. Ferman has attended all of the pre-service meetings. Starting Oct. 27, Life.Church will provide its own equipment which they will store in a semi-truck during the week. They will also install an electrical plug-in where they can provide their own power.

“They don’t know about the space we are using and they seem to just expect to use it however they please,” theater treasurer Kamryn Hannigan said. “We’re willing to share, but we can’t jump through hoops for outside organizations when we have our own events and clubs to deal with.”