According to Cassopolis Superintendent Tracy Hertsel said that reopening Red Brick School will not cost the district a “ton of money” because they already are paying the utilities on the building and it had not been abandoned. (Leader photo/File)
According to Cassopolis Superintendent Tracy Hertsel said that reopening Red Brick School will not cost the district a “ton of money” because they already are paying the utilities on the building and it had not been abandoned. (Leader photo/File)

Archived Story

Minimal cost in reopening Red Brick

Published 8:33am Thursday, August 1, 2013

When the school year begins in September, Cassopolis Public Schools will have a new program in place.

At its most recent board meeting, Cassopolis approved the implementation of an Ag-Science program that it is hoping draws new students to its district for years to come.

The program is the first in southwest lower Michigan. Cassopolis is already the lone district to have a Future Farmers of America program, which has been traditionally strong.

The program will move from Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School to Red Brick School just off of M-62. The school is being reopened after being closed for the past few years.

According to Cassopolis Superintendent Tracy Hertsel, the cost of reopening the school will be minimal.

“We will be shifting teachers, not adding teachers,” Herstel said. “The one thing it is going to do is give must better access to the facilities we already have for our ag program. We will be out at the farm. The other thing is we are looking at expanding greenhouse type things and bringing in more of those hands-on activities.

“We are not dumping a ton of money into reopening the building. We paid the utilities on the building and it hasn’t been shut down or abandoned. We do have some things we have to address to get them in there, but we are not dumping money into the project. We are kind of transferring the program to a better location, to a more accessible location so that we can better utilize our resources.”

With the program approved by the board, the district can now begin recruiting students in earnest. That began this week with a district booth at the Cass County Fair.

Hertsel said that there has already been a lot of interest. Head of the program, Carrie George, put a posting on the district’s FFA Facebook page and got a resounding response.

“Now it will be up to the guidance counselors to make the schedules all work,” Hertsel said. “It has to work for kids and that’s the hard thing, but we will get it done.”

The district will use the same number goals that it uses for regular classes, which is at least 20 students per teacher.

“If we do that it will meet our budget needs and it does not increase any cost,” Hertsel added.

Interested students can contact George at cgeorge@cassopolis.org or by calling Ross Beatty at 445-0540.

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