Brandywine students to see changes

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Brandywine Public Schools are moving ever closer to completing improvements on two of the three buildings in the school district.
When students at Merritt and Brandywine elementary schools return to school from winter break Jan. 3, they'll find all the improvements to their schools, save for the installation of new windows, complete, said Gus Damaske, Brandywine Director of Finances.
The south addition at Merritt Elementary School is mostly completed, construction crews must now go through and handle any "punch-list" items that must be attended to before the addition can be turned over to the school.
The east addition, or the "Michigan wing" as its come to be known, is completed and teachers will be able to move in next week.
Casework in the classrooms being renovated will be completed and new doors and frames will be installed before the end of winter vacation.
Windows are scheduled to be shipped Jan. 14, and will be installed approximately two weeks after they are received.
At Brandywine Elementary School, crews are making final checks, and all renovated classrooms and bathrooms will be turned over before the end of winter vacation, Damaske said. Maintenance workers are currently replacing equipment to ensure the newly installed boilers are running efficiently.
Windows are scheduled to be shipped Jan. 21 and should be installed two weeks after they are received.
Construction crews are still six to seven weeks ahead of schedule at Brandywine Middle-High School, as they are working on the "winter" classrooms. The winter classrooms are rooms that were not scheduled to be renovated until January or February.
The seventh grade corridor, which is where construction crews are currently working should be completed by March, Damaske said.
In mid-January Damaske will meet with the Facility Improvement Committee to discuss what alternates or "below the line" items the district can use remaining contingency money to complete.
The district currently has $529,000 or 65 percent of the construction contingency money available for other projects.
Should the bid the district has received for new fixtures to be installed in the Brandywine Middle-High School parking lot, the contingency fund would be reduced to about 40 percent remaining.
Damaske thinks when families come through the renovated buildings when the district holds an open house to show case the end result of the fall construction, they will be impressed with the work that has been done to the schools.
In other business, the school board approved 56 spaces in the the district that will be available to schools of choice students. The board also approved the payment of district bills in the amount of $2,118,282.54.