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Field House for 9/11 Victim Raises Questions

Amid concerns over the proposed football field house's maintenance costs to West Deptford taxpayers, two meetings are planned to answer residents' questions.

While the goodwill appears present to build a field house at the high school in memory of Nick Brandemarti Jr., West Deptford’s school board president acknowledges the community has questions about the plan.

It’s been two weeks since former soccer coach John Cobb and former board of education member Edward Houghton proposed the football field house to honor West Deptford High School alumnus Brandemarti, who was killed on 9/11.

School board President Chris Strano said the board will answer any questions before a vote to approve or deny the structure occurs.

Cobb and Houghton’s presentation detailed the field house they envision—built from donations and not tax dollars, they said—although their plan may not necessarily be the exact specifications of the building.

The presentation outlined a field house that would cost $230,000-$260,000. The proposal has it located adjacent to the blockhouse near the football field. The field house would include restrooms, showers, locker rooms, laundry rooms, equipment rooms, coach meeting rooms and official meeting rooms for the football team.

Strano said Monday night that one of the board's main concerns surrounds the potential cost of the building to taxpayers. Though construction won’t cost the district, the school board has to take into account how much the maintenance and utilities to keep the field house running will cost per year.

Brian Gotchel, chair of the school board’s property, buildings, and transportation committee, said his fellow board members have sent questions his way about the proposal.

“There have been a lot of questions about usage and expense,” Gotchel said.

His committee plans an upcoming meeting on the field house; it will be a chance for the board and public to ask questions and register their thoughts on the proposal. A meeting with a community group is also planned. Neither has been scheduled yet. 

With a proposal this large, Strano said, the board will not vote before the public can ask questions and comment on the project.

Alternative idea proposed

Some people in the community have concerns or ideas about the project. Mary Beth Kirschling, the mother of West Deptford alum Megan Kirschling, opted to reserve many of the questions she brought to Monday night's meeting for the future public session. But Kirschling floated an idea for spending the money to benefit all West Deptford High School athletes instead.

“New Jersey now has state-mandated concussion rules,” she noted,” so the money could be used to purchase the ImPACT test.”

Kirschling’s idea stemmed from a story she heard about Brandemarti suffering from concussions during his football-playing days. She added that many high schools in the Colonial Conference and throughout South Jersey have ImPACT, a computer program that makes identifying athletes’ concussions easier by establishing a baseline for each individual.

The cost and training required for ImPACT wouldn’t run as high as maintaining a field house and it would benefit all sports, whereas the proposed field house would be constructed just for football, Kirschling said.

Superintendent Kevin Kitchenman said he has discussed purchasing ImPACT with athletic director Tim Cammarota in the past, and it will come up for discussion again as the West Deptford School District prepares its upcoming budget, which is taking precedence. 

Heather Giordano February 12, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Build the field house on donated money,and the tax payers will donate thier money to run it. doesn't the high school have the same facilities that the field house will have. It seems to me they are using Nick's name as an excuse just to build the field house. the people today does not have the extra money to make donations. My daughter had a hard time selling girl scout cookies.How do you expect donations the way the economy is going.
Diane Hickman February 13, 2013 at 02:41 PM
9-11 MAY BE THE SINGLE BIGGEST NATIONAL TRAGEDY TO EVER AFFECT AMERICA IN THIS CENTURY . TO NAME A FACILITY SUCH AS A FIELD HOUSE AT RIVERWINDS AFTER NICK BRANDEMARTI, JR. IS A NO BRAINER. PERHAPS THE FAMILY'S FOUNDATION MAY WANT TO CONSIDER THIS AS SOMETHING THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF. I BELIEVE THAT FUTURE YOUNG ATHLETES THAT WOULD USE THIS BUILDING SHOULD ALWAYS BE REMINDED THAT 9/11 ENDED THE EARTHLY LIFE OF ONE OF THE FINEST YOUNG MEN TO EVER GRADUATE FROM WEST DEPTFORD. PERHAPS IT COULD HAVE ITS OWN WALL OF HONOR OF PREMIER ATHLETES WHO HAVE ACHIEVED WITH HONOR ,ALWAYS BRINGING PRIDE TO WEST DEPTFORD. THE CRITERIA SHOULD BE HIGH WITH INPUT FROM COACHES & ATHLETES THAT HAVE COMPETED AGAINST NOMINEES. PLENTY OF GREAT ATHLETES. FEW BRING THE HONOR TO W.D. THAT NICK DID IN HIS 21 YEARS. . BEING THAT I GREW UP IN WEST DEPTFORD, THAT NICK WAS ONE OF MY NEPHEW (HUNTER KINTZING'S) LIFETIME CLOSEST FRIENDS...EVEN THOUGH I DON'T LIVE IN WEST DEPTFORD ANYMORE, MY FAMILY WOULD LOVE TO DONATE TO THIS PROJECT. I CAN INVISION HONORING W.D. ATHLETES & COACHES THAT HAVE GONE ON TO DO AMAZING THINGS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR TOWN, STATE AND COUNTRY. I INVISION A GIFT SHOP WITH INSPIRATIONAL MERCHANDISE, SUCH AS TEASHIRTS. I FIND THIS SO EXCITING. IT WOULD BE NICE FOR WEST DEPTFORD TO GET SOME POSITIVE NEWS OUTSIDE THE TOWN, INSTEAD OF BEING KNOWN FOR THE IR PETTY POLITICS. IT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN BUYING GIRL SCOUT COOKIES.
Diane Hickman February 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM
i thought the field house would be built at riverwinds, however, makes it even better that it would be at West Deptford's field. Great idea!
Donna Hickman February 13, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I think building the field house during this economic crisis were in would be ludicrous. Just because he was killed during 9/11 doesn't justify him having a building named after him.I had a brother that was in the twin towers,and we used to live in west deptford at the time of this tragedy. The people of west deptford doesn't want there hard earned money to continullay pay for a building that won't apply to them. Why don't they name a wing of the high school or the stadium,somethings that is already constructed instead of wasting the tax payers money. There was a mention about changing the community center from Shields to Brandmarte Community center. One more thing that means HUNTER is Scott Kintzing son great influence. Scott can chage behind the field house.
Carrie February 13, 2013 at 05:29 PM
It's totally unfair to expect taxpayers to maintain a building that's only going to bennefit a small portion of the students. I'd assume the young man was at the WTC working, which leads me to believe that FB was not his life. It would also make sense that he would have children. There's nothing to say that they would have been FB players. He'd have supported a program his children participated in. If the building were going to be maintained with NO TAX PAYER FUNDS, I could care less, but as long as that is not the case, then it would make much more sense to use tax funds for something that would reduce injury, long term effects & possibly save lives. The test being considering would have a much more possitive effect. Concussions can cause life long struggles with migrains, vision & memory loss & learning disorders. Compare the ability to take a shower in a building specifically for one group to the medical bennefits of the ImPACT test. With the laws in place, as taxpayers we are ALREADY paying expenses for concussion related issues. Wouldn't it make more sense to roll that expense into maintaining a testing system. Impact testing is between 11 and 25 per test. Then there is the followup testing. Some studies suggest a 2nd concussion could cause death in 50% of cases where a concussion is already present! It makes no sense. The only debates are selfish! The test could be used district wide for ALL sports programs.
Kelly Hempsey February 13, 2013 at 05:52 PM
I think it's a great idea, not only because it honor's a small town hero, but also because it further builds the WDHS football program. This isn't just a one season game for fun to these boys. It's a year round dedication that keeps them out of trouble and instead learning commitment, respect, and hard work. And Donna, Brandemarti isn't having a building named after him "just because he was killed during 9/11". He was a hardworking, respectful person that everybody loved in this town from what I understand. Keeping his name alive gives WDHS athletes a good person to look up to. Of course it serves the obvious purpose of honoring the victims of 9/11, but it's much more than that. Those football players work hard, and deserve a nice place to call their home outside of home and the future players of WD deserve to know who Nick Brandemarti is, and have him to look up to- because he's much more than a victim of 9/11, and the field house would be much more than just a fieldhouse- it'd be a home away from home for the athletes who spend their entire school year (and summer) practicing, learning, and dedicating themselves like Brandemarti did.
Danielle Fitzgerald Roesly February 13, 2013 at 06:45 PM
I disagree with the field house proposal. Has everyone forgetten about the fact that Riverwinds in a whole is still unfinished? And that we have all been paying for it for years. I live in WD and take pride in my town, but there are too many other areas that need to be updated, maintained, and completed before anything new is started and left up to the taxpayers to deal with. Most of the time you are lucky if there is toilet paper or soap in the restrooms at West Deptford park. Does the football team really need laundry rooms, coach meeting rooms, and official meeting rooms? I'm not saying there shouldn't be a memorial for Nick Brandemarti and the others victims of 911. If money has to be spent, then it should be on something to benefit all sports, or a larger part of the towns population. It would raise more awareness and more votes.
Diane Hickman February 13, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Donna, use your real name and stop hiding behind your fake names. Then we can examine your life and see the exemplary life you have lived. Which leads to this. You haven't and that is why you don't reveal your real name. I was writing a letter in response to the field house....you have used this forum for political purposes. To the editor of this Patch....I thought you had new rules for real names and comments. It seems that you only filter comments that benefit one point of view. Disgusted to be from West Deptford and very happy that my nephew lost the race as he deserves better than representing stupid people like you. I was at the headquarters when the results came in and let out a sigh of relief that he lost. I would like to see him save his energy and sacrifices for a better calling than making West Deptford a better place for people like you.
Dwayne Hickman February 13, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I think the field house is just another way of putting the screws to the residents of this township. With so many other things that weren't completed and should be taken care of this should be the least of their worries. Like one of the previous commenters on here,why should I pay taxes on upkeep of a facilty that I won't have any benefit from. Where do they hold thier meetings now? Outside? Next you'll want a parade named after him.he already has a bebefit run named after him honor the other kids that were killed in the township by other means.9/11 happened and it effected thousands of people,but a field house come on and get serious.
Thomas J. Nocella February 13, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Hey John, we don't need another Riverwinds where the residents were told that it would cost the residents of WD a few pennies more in taxes. We all know how that turned out. The locker room and showers especially in the HS are filthy the last time I seen them. I remember football players practicing in the band in their football uniforms. They certainly didn't take a shower and when I asked he told me just how bad they were maintained. Another time while I coached the PeeWee's football players would come over to help in their uniforms and they told me the same thing. The taxpayers are ultimately going to have pay for maintenance and utilities. Yes, Nick was a football player but he turned into a fine young man also . I think it would be more appropriate if we honored Nick with something that would benefit all WD students. I am sure we need something that would enhance our students education. Rename Riverwinds in Nicks honor. The man whose name appears on it has fallen out of favor in WD. The cost burden for the residents of WD to pay for all of all the maintenance and utilities you apparently didn't realize. Apparently you also didn't realize the cost you could save by not building a stand alone facility. The additional cost of excavation and underground utilities are adding so much to your fund raising cost. Providing a facility attached to the HS would be better but without the amendities you refer to provide to students who don't even use the existing.
rob schomber February 14, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Put his name on something else. The past 11 seasons the varsity team has lost 12 games. Apparently a field house wasn't missed during these 11 seasons and I'm sure it won't be missed any time in the near future. WD football has pretty much always done well WITHOUT and they'll do well WITHOUT again. And a little sidenote, donations for a field house and $4 for a box of girl scout cookies may be comparing apples to oranges, but it still comes down to the same thing, MONEY.....money that people don't have to buy cookies or donate to a building for. Streets and buildings get renamed all the time, this can also be one of those times.
Duke February 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM
John Cobb initiating this project.Some things never change.How much is he going to pocket from this fiasco.John you're not a committeeman anymore.Scrap this idea instaed of costing the taxpayers to try to get this off the ground.

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