New Brandywine auxiliary gym opens

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NILES — Brandywine Community Schools officials, board members and project leaders stood behind a gold ribbon Monday evening, pairs of scissors in hand. Soon, the group cut the ribbon and unveiled a new facility for the district.

After years of work, Brandywine Community Schools opened its new auxiliary gym on the grounds of Brandywine Middle/High School on Bell Road with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday. The new 14,400-square-foot center features a basketball court, fitness room, restrooms and changing rooms. The cost of the project was $2,022,000.

“It’s thrilling to have this finally opened,” said Superintendent Karen Weimer. “It’s one thing to see plans on a page. It’s just even better to see things completed. … We are just thrilled. It is a very exciting day for us to have this facility.”

Standing underneath one of the new facility’s basketball hoops, district athletic director Vance Stratton said he was pleased with the new facility. He said the new facility would help athletics by allowing teams to practice both at the new facility and the high school gym, meaning that practices can happen simultaneously. Previously, he said that a lack of space has led to teams practicing at odd or inconvenient times.

“This is going to be phenomenal for our kids,” he said. “It is going to take a lot of pressure off of our high school gym. It’s going to be great for our coaches and our athletes. There are going to be a lot of people that get a lot of use out of it.”

In addition to providing additional space for sports practices and games, Weimer said the new gym would provide a space for performing arts students to meet and practice.

“This is going to be immense for our students,” Weimer said.

The project’s architect, Gregory Monberg, of Wightman, said the new facility was specifically designed to meet the needs of a growing and diverse school district.

“We had a couple of big goals, one of which is for this to serve as a community center,” Monberg said. “So, for instance, we didn’t do a hardwood, maple floor. We did a synthetic sports floor that holds up to multiple uses, so if you want to set up tables and chairs to hold other events here, you could. … We designed for future expansion, so you could add and double the size of this.”

Weimer said the school district was happy to host the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday evening as it allowed the community to share in district officials’ excitement about the new facility, which she believes will meet the needs of students for years to come.

“This is something that is going to be supported by our community,” Weimer said. “We want people to see what we are doing in our district.”

So far, according to both Weimer and Stratton, no students have been inside the facility, but both are confident that students will enjoy and appreciate the facility.

“I think they are going to be thrilled,” Weimer said.