Improvements under way

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, May 13, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine Public Schools celebrated a very special day Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony to recognize the collaborative effort that made its facility improvement bond a reality.
In June, the community passed a $14.4 million bond to make some much needed improvements to facilities across the district. The bond passed by a margin of 2-1 and marked the first bond issue to pass in the community for about 40 years.
Brandywine Public Schools interim superintendent Gary Campbell said the bond project will involve renovating much of the instructional space throughout the buildings and bringing the facilities up to code.
Among the improvements being made are new walls, ceilings, floors and windows in many of the classrooms; roof repairs; the water supply being changed from well water to a municipal water source; the California wing of Merritt Elementary being demolished with a new pod configuration of classrooms to be constructed in its place.
The entire construction process is expected to take two years to complete.
On Monday afternoon, a large crowd gathered to celebrate the fact that construction is finally getting underway.
Brandywine Public Schools Board of Education president Jim Curran kicked off the groundbreaking event by announcing this was the beginning of a bright future for the Brandywine district.
He said the district is taking the steps necessary to create an environment for students and teachers to excel and the facilities that the entire community can be proud of.
The event's next speaker was Kelly Low, co-chairman of the Brandywine Bright Future Committee, which played a big role in informing the public about the importance of passing this bond issue.
He said the facility improvement project will have "a direct and positive impact on our school district."
The immediate impact will be seen by having safer schools, larger rooms and better lighting. But, the long term impact will come by being able to attract quality teachers and administrators, Low said.
He thanked the school board, staff members, parents, students, township officials, business owners and the entire community for their support and encouragement through this important process.
Campbell also spoke at the ceremony and talked of the significance of the community voting to pass this bond.
When he arrived in Brandywine, Campbell said it was apparent that it was "a place that has pride in its school and pride in its students."
He defined this pride as a passionate confidence in past and future successes and feels this project is a "giant step" toward future success.
Campbell went on to commend the community for the strong pride they have in Brandywine Public Schools.
State Senator Ron Jelinek was the keynote speaker of the celebration.
He also commended the community for stepping up to improve the quality of education in their district.
By improving the schools, the district is improving the overall educational experience of its students, he said.