MORELAND HILLS — The refreshed Brady Middle School opened its doors for the start of the 2019-20 school year as the $7.8 million renovation came to a close. After two years of renovations divided into three phases, the school has many new features, including a media center, collaborative spaces and remodeled classrooms.

“The fiscal responsibility is what really impresses me,” Superintendent Lynn Campbell said at the Board of Education meeting following Brady’s open house on Monday.

“To be able to have a reserve in which you can renovate a building for $8 million without having to go to your taxpayers for a bond issue is pretty unheard of.”

Phase three included the media center, new cabinetry and lighting in every classroom, collaborative spaces and a fresh coat of paint at a price tag of $3.9 million. Architect fees and other special costs totaled $576,000. Replacing the 50-year-old water main added up to $387,000 from the permanent improvement fund.

Phase one of the Brady project, completed in the summer of 2017, cost $263,000 to renovate the restrooms and make them ADA accessible. Phase two took place during the spring and summer of 2018 and a more secure entrance was built along with creating new music spaces from the old gym at a cost of $3.1 million.

On Monday, eighth-grade students who are mentors in Brady’s “Where Everybody Belongs” leadership program, also known as WEB leaders, gave tours during an open house of the renovated school. The kids showed off the media center, which features a reading nook, a circular space for classes, a 75-inch screen for group work, a green screen, cafeteria-style booths, four group study rooms, shorter bookshelves and additional plug-in spaces for electronics.

“I really like the meeting spots for small groups,” said Lily Boardman, 13, of Pepper Pike, an eighth-grade WEB leader. “It’s like the Orange library. You can go whenever you want and work there.”

Lily said that her French class often writes skits and records them in front of the green screen in the new media center.

Director of Business Operations Ted Roseberry hit more highlights of the renovation, noting that every classroom in the building was updated. Each classroom has new cabinets and lighting, which can be adjusted with a touch sensor to dim and brighten the lights. Every classroom also has a sink and a water fountain. Each wing was painted with an accent color, and sixth-graders used green, seventh-graders use blue and eighth-graders use orange.

“I love how Brady feels comfortable and safe,” eighth-grader Zoe Newman, 13, of Orange Village said. “It’s a happy place to be.”

The hallways and lockers were repainted, Mr. Roseberry said. The floors in the classrooms were in good shape so those remain the same but all received new ceilings. Specialty rooms, such as science and art rooms, had their own unique updates. The science rooms have all new tables and an art room has ventilated cabinets, he added. Throughout Brady, there are various collaborative spaces so students can work together in small groups.

Megan Tzefronis of Pepper Pike has a 13-year-old son, Charlie, who is an eighth-grade WEB leader at Brady. She said that before the renovation, Brady was running out of space to accommodate the number of students.

“This created new spaces, they did a good job” Ms. Tzefronis said. “The classrooms are fresh and brighter and there’s kid-friendly furniture. There’s more flexibility, and they made it look more modern.”

Miki Beachler of Orange Village also said that space is used better in Brady Middle School now compared to when her children were there. Peyton, 17, is a senior at Orange High School and Justin, 18, is a recent graduate. She also said that she likes the more secure entrance and trophy display case that were completed in phase two along with the collaborative spaces.

Eighth-grade WEB leader Michael Yard, 13, of Orange Village said that his favorite part of the Brady renovation is the music wing. Michael, who plays the clarinet and bassoon, said that now the music classrooms are clumped together rather than spread apart.

Parents, students and candidates running for local council seats visited the open house, including Joe Davis, former principal of Brady Middle School.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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