Brandywine board accepts proposal on construction

By By JOANNA ARNETT / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Brandywine Board of Education accepted the plans presented by Hebard &Hebard Architects Inc. Monday evening.
Richard Hebard unveiled a PowerPoint presentation to the Board and visitors with his firm's plans for the three main Brandywine district buildings, those being Merritt Elementary on LaSalle Ave., Brandywine Elementary on 13th Street, and Brandywine High School at 17th and Bell Road.
The kitchen addition would be removed to make more room and the entire California-style northeast wing would be torn down, save the foundation. A new hexagonal kindergarten addition would be built, with six classrooms surrounding an island of bathrooms. It would be significantly safer than the current design, with the only entry points to the classrooms being the inside corridor and the doors at the end of the hall.
There will be a new addition at the southern end of the building, extending the media center, art room and computer rooms.
Keeping with the current QZAB work, the outsides would feature two-tone paneling throughout and archways for a uniform look.
For Brandywine Elementary, "We are proposing the safest and least congested plan," said Hebard. "Like Merritt and the high school, there will be a new busing route, each leaving at a set time in a set order. The children will grow up with this bus route their whole lives here, making it easier to follow."
The proposal for the parents would be for pavement to be laid out for a driveway and 13 parking spaces between the two big trees on 13th Street. Parents would drop their children off there out of the way of buses and any other traffic.
Buses, on the other hand, would pull through the main parking lot as they've always done, in the new syncopated manner. The concrete divider would be removed for a total of 34 parking spaces as well as the turn-around for the buses.
A new food service addition would be added to the kitchen, greatly expanding the area as well as expanding the service the kitchen can provide.
As for Brandywine High School, no new driveways would be created. Rather, the fence enveloping the bus area would be removed and buses would bring students down the hill toward the back to the building in a loop, to be dropped off at the sidewalk that runs to the southwest entrance, opening to the band, choir and gymnasium hall. Parents would drive straight through to the parking lot as they've always done, keeping to the right. They would drive around the outside and exit through the southern left fork. Student drivers would take the left fork, which will be widened to allow two lanes, and keep to the right.
The arched level will not be used in the construction, as it is not in keeping with other angles.
In other board news, Laura DeMeulenaere was appointed ninth grade cheerleading coach and Alison Savik was appointed ninth grade volleyball coach. Ron Simpson was appointed as probationary teacher for the rest of the school year for auto shop. Three paraprofessionals will be laid off.
Interim Superintendent Gary Campbell said, "We've had nearly half a million dollars in problems, especially due to the shortage of enrollment this year. Eighty to 85 percent of our budget is in people costs, and unfortunately, that's where we have to make the cuts."
The Board approved second semester Schools of Choice, deciding that they needed to retain any children that attend Brandywine schools but have moved out-of-district.
The Board also approved the use of Michigan Leadership Institute to conduct a superintendent search.
School Board Vice President Gregory Harrison announced his departure effective Monday, Jan. 5. With smiles, he told the board that his employer had offered him greater opportunities and more travel, and he would be unable to fully perform his duties as Vice President.

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