Locking up Brandywine’s school renovations

Published 5:23 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Students at Brandywine Elementary School saw a welcome change when they arrived at school this morning - lockers.
Workers from Architectural Openings and Access, of Grand Rapids, were hard at work Monday and Tuesday, installing the lockers so they would be ready to receive students' belongings today.
In addition to the new lockers, workers continued working on classroom renovations which are expected to be completed by the end of November, according to Brandywine Public Schools director of finance Gus Damaske.
The renovations include new walls, windows, floors, and ceilings in the classrooms. The final phase of the classroom renovations will consist of installing the wire molding and ceiling panels.
Speakers for the public announcement system will be installed in the classrooms over the next two weeks.
With the cold weather moving in recently, things have been chilly in the elementary school of late. The school has implemented temporary measures to heat the school until the new boilers are delivered.
The school is now heated by an external gas-forced air furnace and some internal commercial space heaters.
Damaske said some areas of the school are still cold, but maintenance workers have been leaving doors open to allow the heat to circulate through the entire building.
The first of two new boilers is scheduled to be shipped Nov. 6th. After it's received, Damaske said it should be operational after one to two weeks of installation and set up.
The second boiler is scheduled to be shipped Nov. 13 and should be operational one to two weeks after it's received.
The two new boilers are designed to be used in sequence, so when one is working, the other is resting. This will allow the school to be fully heated when the first boiler is installed and operational, Damaske said.
Health department inspectors will be at Brandywine elementary Oct. 21 to inspect the new kitchen area. Damaske said the kitchen is expected to pass inspection with no incident.
The new freezer and walk-in cooler are expected to be mounted within the week. Crews are currently determining where the condensers for those units should be installed.
Over at Merritt Elementary School, sidewalks near the bus drop off entrance will be installed Oct. 25 and 26.
Completion of the new wing which replaces the "California" wing is drawing near and Damaske said the wing should be turned over to the school by Dec. 15.
The "California" wing got its name because the configuration is common in states with warmer year-round weather. The wing consisted of a few classrooms which weren't connected by a hall, they exited outside.
The portable classrooms are still without access to the public address system. Crews will be trenching wires out to the portables to provide them with access to the public address system.
Installation of the fascia, a metal stripping which runs around the entire roof of the Merritt gym, has not begun yet. Damaske said there has been some talk about what type of fascia should be installed, and it has not been ordered yet.
The fascia is completely cosmetic and won't affect the roof function or structure in any way.
Damaske also said that the lights in the parking lot at Merritt are installed and operational.
The light poles at Brandywine Middle-High School have not been installed as parts of the poles have become unavailable to order.
Seven classrooms in the middle school wing of the building are expected to be turned over sometime in the middle of November. Those rooms were not scheduled to be completed until Jan. 1.
Crews will begin working on the next batch of classrooms which need renovations as soon as arrangements can be made to make those classrooms available for the construction crews to get in there.
Coming up soon, the fire marshal will inspect the new science classroom to ensure it's up to code before letting students and teachers spark up some bunsen burners in there.
The fascia at the middle-high school is currently being installed as well as the bell and public address systems.
Renovations began in May of 2004 and will continue until the end of December 2005.
The middle-high school will have five classrooms renovated by the end of the 2004-05 school year, and another 12 renovated by the end of December of 2005.