Rebuilding Brunswick

Railroaders Remain Concerned
A compilation of photos that depict the inequity found at Brunswick High School. These photos were presented at Board of Education meetings while pushing to expedite the Brunswick High School rebuild.
A compilation of photos that depict the inequity found at Brunswick High School. These photos were presented at Board of Education meetings while pushing to expedite the Brunswick High School rebuild.
Kylie Lancaster

According to Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), the Brunswick High School (BHS) rebuild is supposed to be completed by the 2028 school year.

Lately, Brunswick High School has been a hot topic throughout FCPS. After a feasibility study conducted on BHS in 2019, the rebuild was slated to be complete by the 2024-2025 school year. Even though this study discovered some disturbing issues, the rebuild was pushed back to 2032 due to funding after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

With that being said, why would FCPS want to rebuild a building that gets vandalized? What would incline the Board of Education to construct a new building just for it to suffer potential destruction?

Strong advocacy efforts were implemented by the Brunswick High School Rebuild committee last year. While this committee continues to fight for a new building, they were already successful with getting the rebuild moved up from 2032 to 2028.

FCPS has said they will redesign BHS from 2024 to 2026 and will begin construction after the design is complete. However, BHS students, staff, and parents hold their own concerns and wishes when it comes to the rebuild. 

Jennifer Axline attended Brunswick High School as a Class of 2002 graduate. She now has two children, one of which who is currently attending high school in the same building she did. Photo provided and given permission to use by Jennifer Axline.
Why do you think students at Brunswick deserve to be in a new building?

“I believe students at Brunswick High School need to be in a new school as soon as possible. There are many health, safety, and maintenance issues at the current school. Children that need ADA compliant access to bathrooms, classrooms and the auditorium are being negatively impacted by the dated structure. There are doors going from the main body of the school to the career/tech building that are commonly left open for the convenience of students, allowing anyone to access the school without checking in at the front office. This leaves the student body vulnerable to a number of dangers.  Small classrooms and the lack of access to the most up-to-date classroom technology hinder the student body from receiving similar educations to those students in Frederick County that are going to schools that have been more recently updated and renovated.  The school does not have enough parking for its students, teachers, and guests. It would benefit the Brunswick community as a whole for the students to be given access to a modern facility for their education.” –Jennifer Axline, Brunswick Class of 2002

Jennifer Axline attended Brunswick High School as a Class of 2002 graduate. She now has two children, one of which who is currently attending high school in the same building she did. Photo provided and given permission to use by Jennifer Axline. (Jennifer Axline )
Jacob Winter graduated from Brunswick High School with the Class of 2023. During his time at Brunswick, Jacob was a strong advocate for the BHS rebuild – attending Board of Education meetings to push for an expedited timeline. Photo provided and given permission to use by Donna Tucker.
Should the Brunswick High School rebuild take top priority in FCPS?

“I see no earthly reason why the replacement of Brunswick High should not be a top two priority capital project for the Board. The school’s dilapidated condition is dangerous and unconducive to education. It demands the attention and full funding necessary to bring it in compliance not only with regulations, but the spirit of FCPS’s promise to students. Perhaps more importantly, a previous Board made a commitment that they inexplicably reneged on. This Board can correct that by ensuring that BHS is complete and open to students before the Middletown co-located elementary/middle school or any other superfluous project receives a single cent.” –Jacob Winter, Class of 2023

Jacob Winter graduated from Brunswick High School with the Class of 2023. During his time at Brunswick, Jacob was a strong advocate for the BHS rebuild – attending Board of Education meetings to push for an expedited timeline. Photo provided and given permission to use by Donna Tucker. (Donna Tucker)
Mr. Johnson taught at Frederick High School before becoming a history teacher at Brunswick High School. Frederick High School is the most recent school in the county to be rebuilt.
What does Frederick High have that you wish Brunswick had? Do any of the inequities affect how you are able to do your job?

“This topic and question is so complex and with so many perspectives it’s difficult to summarize.

Frederick High School (FHS) had this unusual complexity in the halls of its old building. Perspective is so crucial to breaking down the interwoven opinions and views that range from a decrypted, infested, and outdated place to learn and work to a place of heritage, honor, and school spirit. It’s strange to think that one can have so many conflicting opinions. Obviously, the school board and Frederick County decided it was time to construct a new school for FHS due to many issues. The same could be said about BHS – that it is past time to provide a new improved learning environment for the community of Brunswick. However, not everything is made better with shiny, new things. What do you take with you, what do you change and leave behind? These are the though questions that follow us when we transition form the old to the new.

To answer your question: It’s not a matter of what FHS has that BHS doesn’t, it’s more that BHS needs the opportunity to change and grow in a way that is right for this community… one shoe does not fit all.” Mr. Johnson, Brunswick High School Teacher

Mr. Johnson taught at Frederick High School before becoming a history teacher at Brunswick High School. Frederick High School is the most recent school in the county to be rebuilt. (Kylie Lancaster)
The current entrance of Brunswick High School. This entrance has been the same since this building was built in the 1960s.
What does Brunswick High School need in a new building that it doesn’t currently have?

“The things I envision are those that would be on the specifications for any new high school building:

  • Larger classrooms with 21st century technology specification and access
  • Flexible furniture (desks and chairs) that can be grouped and regrouped in a variety of ways depending on the need and preference of teachers for students.
  • Specialty spaces that don’t exits at BHS right now – updated science labs, computer and media labs, a media center with maker spaces.
  • A larger virtual learning lab that better accommodates distance learning.
  • 21st century PE facilities with a large workout weight room
  • Wider hallways and additional stairwells
  • Many, many more windows… our students need light!

Things that would be nice to have:

  • School spaces that inspire and say “Brunswick” – colors, art, themes – and a large gathering area like the “commons” at Frederick High School or a “Main Street” like at Tuscarora, Oakdale, and Linganore.
  • A large conference room that can be the “Brunswick High School Heritage Room,” displaying large photos, art, and memorabilia from the entire history of our school – a source of pride for our community.
  • A better configured main office and guidance suite with more private spaces for the people that work there.
  • Boxlights [updated technology] (like the one in the library) for every room. In other words, a teacher projection device that doesn’t require turning the lights off!” Mr. Berry, Brunswick High School Principal
The current entrance of Brunswick High School. This entrance has been the same since this building was built in the 1960s. (Kylie Lancaster)

The ongoing myth that Brunswick will be rebuilt, that change will occur, and has kept community members waiting keeps this issue at the forefront of Brunswick’s radar.

Students, staff, and community members want to feel heard and desire to see change at Cummings Drive.

Through reconstruction of BHS, students would be provided an equitable education like the other nine high schools in FCPS that is not currently accessible to them.

Railroaders will feel vindicated after years of advocating, protesting, and operating with less opportunity in their building compared to others.

At the end of the day, there is one thing that every single person in the Brunswick community wants – change.

 

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About the Contributor
Kylie Lancaster
Kylie Lancaster, Editor-in-Chief
Kylie Lancaster is a senior at Brunswick High School and is editor-in-chief of the Garnet & Gold Gazette. Kylie has taken Journalism 1, 2, and 3. She is also president of the Journalism Club. She has been an important part of our website design and is a social media coordinator of our Instagram account: @bhsgazette. Outside of Journalism, Kylie is on the varsity softball team and plays travel softball. She is also president of the 2023-24 chapter of Brunswick's NEHS.  After high school, she plans attend college to pursue journalism.
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    MJ KingMar 13, 2024 at 1:01 pm

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