October, 2017

This past month, staff and students from Brehm Preparatory School, Inc; including students from Nan Novara’s Art Classes and Jack Frasier’s Landscaping classes, undertook a refurbishing project of the Prep School’s front entrance.

The overall goal of the project was clear.  We needed to breath new life into the front entrance of the school and we needed to update the logo to reflect the new branding initiatives that the school has been working on for the last 18 months.  It started with a discussion of what can we do on our own.  Jamie Kelley is our resident sign maker in the Technology Department.  His past experience with a local design shop helped to realize this vision.

This sign has stood at our entrance since the late 90’s and was showing its age.

We also wanted to make this a campus project so that the students could take ownership in this, very visible, campus improvement work.  The vegetation around the existing sign had grown significantly over the last 2 decades or so, and the decision was made to remove what was there and replant.  This is where the Landscaping and Lawn Care Class at OPTIONS took the lead.  Over the course of several class sessions, they worked to remove the overgrown vegetation and old landscaping felt.  They also worked to prune back the trees and shrubs that were kept.  This brightened up the whole entrance area and made the sign visible from Grand Avenue in both directions.

“I appreciate and value all the wonderful people involved in this project. The new sign is a much-needed addition to Brehm’s campus.”

Dr. Brian Brown – Executive Director

The goal of the Landscaping and Lawn Care Class is to provide students with vocational soft skills and experiences which may lead to further interest and exploration in landscaping, lawn care, or other hands-on vocations (i.e. nursery management, small engine and equipment repair, pesticide application, greenhouse management, equipment operation, vegetable production).

The class is currently involved in the maintenance and installation of all ornamental plantings on the Brehm and OPTIONS campus.  They have also have been planting and raising different vegetables in the raised beds next to the front Brehm pond, and have been raising bedding plants, hanging baskets, and potted plants from seed in the Brehm greenhouse.  Each year there is a plant sale to raise funds for the greenhouse and vegetable operations.

Some of the students from our 8th-period art class volunteered to scrape, sand and prime the Brehm Preparatory sign on Grand Avenue in order to get it ready for its new look. What better way to spend a beautiful autumn afternoon? A special thank you to Tyler, Logan, Joseph, Simon, Imara, Duncan and Michael or their help.

Author:Jonathan Cohen

Closing Thoughts
This project was important to all of us because the old sign did not reflect the quality of our program. The new sign will greet students, staff, families, and visitors every day. It was a lot of fun to work with students on a project that is not common at most schools or businesses and we were even able to build some new relationships with the southern Illinois community that will enable us to undertake more projects like this in the near future.

The refurbished entrance sign on Brehm Lane

Would you like to learn more about the campus improvement projects
or any of our experiential learning opportunities?