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Field House Dedicated to 9/11 Victim Brandemarti Proposed to BOE

Organizers want to build and donate a field house in Nick Brandemarti Jr.'s name to honor the terrorism victim. All that's left is the school board's OK—and fundraising.

It's been 15 years since he graced the West Deptford football stadium; 11 since the unspeakable acts of terrorism on 9/11 killed this West Deptford native son. But Nick Brandemarti Jr.'s name could live on at the high school if a newly unveiled tribute to him moves forward.

With the Nicky Brandemarti Memorial Golf Tournament wrapping up after 10 years, members of the West Deptford community banded together to plan a final tribute in the Brandemarti's name. With seven months of planning behind them, organizers revealed their plans to the school board Monday to donate and construct a new field house to memorialize the fallen West Deptford High School alum. 

After learning about the proposal 36 hours prior, school board President Christopher Strano invited former soccer coach John Cobb and former board of education member Edward Houghton to present their proposal to the board.

Cobb said the project, ongoing for seven months, was kept under tight wraps.

“We didn’t want rumors to fly,” said Cobb. “We would not go forward if we could not guarantee 100 percent.” 

He explained that after 10 years, the Brandemarti family could no longer host the annual memorial golf tournament held in their son’s name. West Deptford High School Assistant Athletic Director Clyde Folsom first proposed the idea of constructing a field house in Brandemarti’s name. Houghton—who has 35 years in the construction industry—then began working on the plans for the field house and creating a budget.

The field house is anticipated to cost between $230,000 and $260,000. Cobb said the group wants to have half of the money raised before construction begins to avoid a half-finished project, in case the group cannot raise the remaining money. Board member Dave Kline asked what would happen if the group could not raise any more money after initial construction, to which Cobb answered that at 50 percent of funding, the building could be at least used as a warehouse.

The Brandemarti family already donated more than 25 percent of the total project costs as a way to kick start fundraising efforts, Cobb added.

If the group can raise enough money to complete the project, the new field house will sit adjacent to the block-house by the high school football field. The field house will provide restrooms, showers, locker rooms, laundry rooms, equipment rooms, coach meeting rooms and official meeting rooms for high school varsity football.

Funded completely through donations and fundraising efforts, Cobb said organizers plan to donate the completed field house to the board. With Houghton acting as general contractor on the project, Cobb says they are only waiting on the board’s approval.

“We’re prepared to go forward as soon as possible,” said Cobb.

Noting that a vote didn't need to happen immediately, Strano instead proposed a healthy dialogue on the proposal, as he anticipated many questions to arise. Strano asked the board to simply "digest" the information presented to them.

“Even though it’s free, there is still a commitment of resources,” Strano said.

Strano also added that with the school budget soon approaching, it is important that the board make sure this is the right time for the project and that the project will not distract from other issues.

Brandemarti was one of three Gloucester County residents who died in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. He had recently joined a small firm—Keefe, Bruyette and Woods—after graduating from Fordham University. As West Deptford High School alum, Brandemarti was known as a standout athlete. His record for a game rushing total of 337 yards is yet to be broken. 

To read more about Brandemarti and his family, see:

  • 'It’s Something We Will Always Commemorate'
  • Viewfinder: Gloucester County 9/11 Memorial
  • West Deptford Midget Football Retires No. 44
  • 'It’s 10 Years Too Late for Us'
Karen January 29, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Yes, I went to school with Nick, and he was a tremendous person. He was a hero at 9/11, and before that he was a hero for football teams in our conference. He deserves this.
Marie Grode January 29, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Yes. We honor our fallen friend. Respect and love.
BPF53 January 29, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Good Kid, remember watching him grow up along his brother Jason from little league baseball throughout HS, played baseball all those years with my son. Tragic remember learning from my son that he started his job in the big city.
Christina Wilson January 31, 2013 at 09:45 AM
When does this stop tho? I'm sorry the kid is dead. But how much are they going to honor him? When I attended WD we had TWO students die... one was attending and one worked for the school district and i could not even get a moment of silence... 11yrs later, they are still honoring this boy? I have a lot of resentment because there have been many WD graduates die... one i remember was Bill Mascke class of '90 (i think). He volunteered for so much, worked with kids and was killed on in a car accident. Kim Bruberner was in a car accident around 91ish.. she is dead. She got a little plaque at Field of Dreams. Where is the recognition for everyone else???
Amy McCay January 31, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Have a heart Christina. Seriously! His family and friends have worked hard to preserve his name and honor his legacy as both a talented athlete as well as a wonderful human being. No one is asking for handouts, in fact, they have only managed to better the community with their tireless efforts to keep his name and alive. Why would anyone want to see it end? Every life matters, none more than another especially when they are taken from us so young. But if you want their memory and their name to be honored, get off your high horse and do the very hard work it takes to organize funding, plan events,and execute memorials that would honor that person lost to us on Earth but not in our hearts. Let it be said that I graduated with Nick but did not know him well beyond that fact that everyone knew he was kind. I am proud of those who work hard to remember him.
Kate (Gazzara) Zimmerman January 31, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Christina, More should (and can) be done for each every person the town lost. Not one is more or less important than the next. If you remember as I do, there was a scholarship for Billy. There were people from my class lost as well. And if there was golf tournament held in their honor, plaque dedicated in their name, scholarship given in memorial I would support all of them as well. 9/11 was a significant day, not just WD, but for all of America. I remember Nick not just on that day but many others as well. Most importantly, it should be seen as a time and way that our town has banded together in a way that we had never known before and held onto that to this day. Why shouldn't we remember him? Why shouldn't that terrible tragedy not be used as a way to continue bonding people together. As a reminder to be thankful for who and what you have in your life and how quickly that can all be taken away. A symbol that our town and country will not bow down to the negatives out there that look to destroy all that we hold dear. And while I am sure you mean well to include others lost, and they should not be forgotten and they aren't less significant, you sound incredibly heartless to not be able to have the compassion for the loss of someone you did not know personally. Maybe you should reflect on your mindset and wonder if that is the same mindset others have and why so many people are forgotten. Sincerely Kate (Gazzara) Zimmerman. Proud supporter and graduate WDHS class of '98
Kate (Gazzara) Zimmerman January 31, 2013 at 05:18 PM
You could have at least spelled Bill's last name correctly.
Mike Littel January 31, 2013 at 06:48 PM
I understand your point Christina but it did come off a little harsh. There is a football field and the high school weight room dedicated to him already, but a fieldhouse would be a nice addition.
jbizzle February 01, 2013 at 12:25 AM
If we are to learn from our mistakes, we must remember not just the events, but the stories.Insensitivity to neighbors is just a way of becoming dehumanized. Nick is one of the many tragic and heroic stories from that day. Sentinel events like 9/11, Dafur, Bosnia, Rawanda and others are reminders of what happens if we lose our touch with our own humanity.
virginia poirier February 01, 2013 at 05:22 AM
Why should u have to hide behind someones name and call it a rememberance when all u want is a fancy new building. He already has things in his name for rememberance. I think its the only way to get a field house out there. There are other ways to keep the memory of someone going. Not conning people and guilting them into funding a personal project
George Cobb February 01, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I agree with Virginia.there are so many in this town that died,especially the boys in iraq and elsewhere.in the past 10 years not one politician came around to my next door neighbors house to concole them about there son's loss when he was killed in Iraq. Instead of a field house name a street after him instead of using his name and tragedy to build a field house.or let his family post 100% of the cost,not inflict donations from people that don't have it. better yet take Shield's name off and put Nick's name on the community center.
reality February 02, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Now I really like the Riverwinds idea........he most certainly deserves it more or the young man that died in Iraq for sure. Not some fat, out of shape life time politician who made his riches off of our backs not any unusual talent
reality February 02, 2013 at 04:41 PM
hey, what happened to the township employee's post on here. You know, the one that thinks her Name makes her something special in this town.........NOT

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