Al-Noor Academy is an impressive brick edifice, originally built as a church and located at 20 Church Street in suburban Mansfield, Massachusetts. It has proved ideal for both school and worship by Muslims.
The lower floor contains the cafeteria and staff kitchen, with the science laboratory, a large classroom, and several small offices and rooms surrounding. One of those rooms is the fitness room, another is the office of the dean of students.
The ground floor encompasses the director’s office and the school office, and then transitions into classrooms, as well as faculty lavatories and teachers’ work area. Some classrooms were recently expanded. Here we find Mathematics, English, Social Studies, Art, and Al-Noor’s Muslim-
specific subjects of Arabic and Religion. Student lavatories at the rear contain stations for making Wudu, the Muslim ritual ablution required before prayer. The entire area was just
re-wired, repaired, and painted. Our library is behind the primary English classroom, and contains a teacher office, as well.
Al-Noor’s top floor is the Masjid, where worship takes place during the school day, for the noon prayer, and just after school much of the year for the afternoon prayer. Islamic prayer is based on a lunar calendar, with prayer times varying during different seasons. The Masjid also serves the surrounding Muslim
community, and is filled nearly to capacity on Friday for Juma’a, or community prayer, Islam’s holy day equivalent to the Jewish Saturday or Christian Sunday.
Al-Noor Academy has transformed and advanced much since its 2000 founding.
So successful has Al-Noor been, in fact, that our supporters in the last year funded a series of major renovations. The list is extensive, and we offer only highlights:
Jewel in the crown is our new science lab, a state-of-the-art, multi-subject space with built-in work stations and instruments such as microscopes and balances for weight and mass. The lab supports Chemistry and Biology, as well as general earth science in grades six (our youngest) and seven.
Two computer labs have been added, one for general use and another supporting the study and recitation of Quran. We are in the process of updating the networking in each.
What was once a parking lot is transformed into an outdoor physical education area, complementing our indoor fitness room. The blacktop is lined for football (“soccer” in the American lexicon) and basketball, and used very nearly year-round by our hardy and enthusiastic youth.
Religion is never far away at Al-Noor, and significant work was completed in our masjid, or mosque. A new carpet spans the broad reaches of the chamber, its pattern serving as a guide for the congregation to face Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, as 1.7 billion Muslims are obligated in their five-times-daily prayers. The Al-Noor masjid serves not only the school, but the local Islamic community.
And finally, the entire building has had a facelift, from paint and plaster through gutters and drains, electrical wiring, a state-of-the-art lab, surveillance and security system, expanded classrooms, new student and teacher desks, and another jewel, to the delight of teachers: high-tech “smart boards” in every classroom, affording virtually limitless audio visual versatility.