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'