Brandywine schools unveil preliminary plan if they are gifted part of Brandywine CC site

Brandywine School District's initial draft site plan if they are gifted 45 acres by Capano Development as part of a new development on the former Brandywine Country Club

The Brandywine School District said it is considering mixing the old with the new if they are gifted part of the former Brandywine Country Club land by a developer.

Superintendent Lincoln Hohler unveiled a preliminary draft plan for a 43-acre portion of the shuttered Country Club site off of Shipley Road that is scheduled to be split with a new Capano Development neighborhood.

There has been a push to have Capano gift that land to either New Castle County or the Brandywine School District, as the neighborhood project has been downsized in recent years over concerns including any possible connection of Concord Pike and Shipley Road.

Hohler said the timing was perfect, with an excess of requests for the Charles Bush Early Learning Center, a new building was needed, and he planned to showcase that to Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting in upcoming weeks.

"She'll get to see first-hand the tight quarters and see the waiting list we have on file, the apparent and abundant need to expedite the building of a center because right now we have students who are not getting pre-school services as they should be simply because there is no room."

The 43-acre Brandywine Country Club site would house the 75,000 sq. ft. school and two playgrounds, which would be covered mostly by Department of Education funds, but then there would still be about 23 acres still untouched by the school property.

That's where Hohler said the initial suggestion is that they reconvert that portion back into a shortened golf course, for use by their Concord, Brandywine, and Mount Pleasant golf teams.

"We're hoping to get four-to-six holes of golf here that the public could use, free of charge, that our students could use for practice rounds for their golf skills."

Hohler said he also envisions that space being used by the community for non-golf activities, including potentially a cross country course.

"During the day, these golf trails would be open to the general public to serve as walking trails--a good opportunity for local residents to enjoy the beautiful open area."

Brandywine Supervisor of Facilities John Read recently did a site tour with Hohler, and said while the state wouldn't be able to help in upgrading the overgrown course back into shape, he thinks the district may already know some skilled professionals.

"We do have very creative landscape people within our department. Getting a shot at that old golf course, yes it's fallen into disrepair, no it's not Pebble Beach, but I'm sure our guys can work magic."

While golf and trails are currently on the mind of Brandywine District officials, Hohler said if they were to be gifted the land by Capano, the public would get plenty of opportunities to voice their vision for the property before any decisions are made.

"There's been a lot of talk 'What is the district thinking? How big would the building be?' We just wanted to get this all out on the table, go give a visual, to let people know what we're thinking if we got this land tomorrow, how would we proceed, this is what you see."

Hohler said Brandywine officials plan to meet Friday with County Councilwoman Dee Durham, the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred, and other political and civic groups to discuss their ideas for the potential gift from Capano.

Capano's current housing plans for the site are down from the initial 2015 conceptional plan that had 563 apartment units and 138 homes using most of the property with less open space near Shipley Road and on the North side of the property.

There remains no set timetable for when a decision on the potential gift of the country club that has sat dormant since 2015.