Farewell to Fletcher: Last days at BFIS

By Susan Bromley
Staff Wrtier
Ortonville- Nearly 500 people bid a fond farewell June 2 to Fletcher Intermediate School.
The goodbye celebration included past principals Don Patrick, Jeff Beane, and Carol Bogner, who were joined by numerous retired teachers, as well as current and past staff, parents and students in closing a chapter in Brandon School District history.
“The whole point was to provide people with a social gathering and discussions of good memories,” said Fletcher Principal Andy Phillips. “My favorite part was the retirees that came and were reconnecting.”
The facility located at 300 South Street in the village opened in 1973 as Brandon High School before becoming a middle school and then entering in 1992 a 25-year stint as Fletcher Intermediate School, housing fifth and sixth grades. In 2013, the school also added fourth grades after the closure of Belle Ann Elementary School in a reconfiguration of buildings. Earlier this year, it was decided to close Fletcher Intermediate School as well as enrollment in the district has continued the decline that forced Belle Ann’s closing.
Among them were past principals Don Patrick, Jeff Beane and Carol Bogner. They were joined by various retired teachers in what Phillips called a blast from the past. The former faculty members joined current staff, as well as parents and students in celebrating the building and the role it has played in the education of students in the district.
“It was a happy gathering, very festive, there was a lot of laughter and a lot of people telling funny stories and sharing happy memories,” said Phillips, who has led Fletcher this past year, and who will return to principal duties at Harvey Swanson Elementary School this fall. “A lot of staff members were here for their entire career or much of their career. It has been kind of melancholy around here since we found out it was going to close. It’s sad to see a school with so much history have to close its doors, but it’s nice to see people get back together and share happy memories made in that building.”
He added that staff at Fletcher have all been reassigned to other buildings in the district and most of the teachers will continue instructing at their current grade levels.