School board hears Boys & Girls Club presentation

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Adrian Design GroupBy Erik Gable
ADRIAN, Mich. —

The Adrian school board on Monday reviewed plans for closing the swimming pool at the Adrian Middle School 5-6 building and turning the space into a new home for the Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee.

Boys & Girls Club board member Mike Kapnick and executive director Dana Pink presented the plan to the school board. The plan calls for the Boys & Girls Club to lease the space from Adrian Public Schools for 25 years at the rate of $1 per year. The club, which is about 45 percent of the way through a $1 million capital campaign, would pay the renovation costs.

The pool area would be turned into a teen center, a game room and office space for Boys & Girls Club staff. The club would have a dedicated entrance off Frank Street.

The plans also call for the creation of a Wii fitness room in the old home economics room, using donated equipment.

The Boys & Girls Club would be able to use school facilities after hours, and the school would be able to use Boys & Girls Club facilities during school hours, both in a controlled and structured way.


Boys & Girls Club plans move to Adrian Middle School 5-6

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Adrian Design GroupBy Erik Gable
Posted Apr 18, 2010 @ 04:23 PM
ADRIAN, Mich. —

If all goes as planned, the Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee could have a new home next year: the Adrian Middle School 5-6 building, where the club first got its start 10 years ago.

An agreement between the Boys & Girls Club and Adrian Public Schools is scheduled to be presented to the school board Monday night. The agreement calls for a 25-year lease on the section of the building that now houses the swimming pool, which would be covered over and renovated.

Administrators with both groups said the move would expand the space available for the Boys & Girls Club, give AMS 5-6 students easier access to Boys & Girls Club programs, and save money for both the club and the school district.

The club’s current home in the city of Adrian’s Piotter Center is across the street from AMS 5-6.

“We’re going to have greater impact,” said Mike Kapnick, a Boys & Girls Club board member who chairs the club’s capital campaign and facilities committee. “It really is cost-efficient, not just for the club, but for Adrian Public Schools, and it really enhances the great partnership we have right now with the schools.”

Some highlights of the proposal, according to Kapnick, Boys & Girls Club executive director Dana Pink and Adrian Superintendent Chris Timmis:

— The Boys & Girls Club will gain a facility with controlled access, as opposed to the Piotter Center, which has three entrances and is shared with various other community groups. “One of the nice things about this is that it will give us a separate entrance just for the Boys & Girls Club,” Kapnick said.

— The club will also have more space. The current facility has a capacity of 88 children at any one time; the move would increase that capacity to 200. “Right now, we are at full capacity with the space that we have,” Kapnick said.

— In addition to the area now occupied by the pool, the club would gain access to other facilities in the AMS 5-6 building, including the gym, cafeteria, computer lab and classroom space. The district is also working on installing a Wii fitness room with donated equipment.

— The district will save money by closing the pool, which Timmis said costs about $49,000 per year to operate. The AMS 5-6 pool is by far the oldest of the district’s three pools, Timmis said.

— Students at AMS 5-6, many of whom already go to the Boys & Girls Club after school, will have easier access.


Tea room planned next to Croswell

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Adrian Design GroupBy John Mulcahy
Posted Mar 31, 2010 @ 02:06 PM
ADRIAN, Mich. —

Downtown Adrian could see a new restaurant opening as soon as July 1.

Al Wilkerson and his wife, Phyllis, who operate the Sweet Afton Tea Room in Plymouth, plan to open the Governor Croswell Tea Room in the former Judge’s Jewelry Store at 125 E. Maumee St., next to the Croswell Opera House.

The restaurant menu will be identical or nearly identical to the tea room in Plymouth, Wilkerson said. That menu features seasonal soups, sandwiches and main dishes such as shepherd’s pie, sirloin tips in gravy with a puff pastry crust, chicken pot pie and quiche, along with a wide selection of desserts and teas.

The restaurant also will offer a traditional high tea, including a pre-theater high tea and after-theater desserts for people attending presentations at the Croswell, Wilkerson said.

He and his wife bought the Adrian building in December, Wilkerson said.

“I’ve always loved the building,” said Wilkerson, who is originally from Adrian. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

The July 1 target date for the restaurant to open depends on getting improvements made, he said.

Wilkerson said he and his wife are friends of Adrian City Administrator Dane Nelson, who convinced them to open the tea room in Adrian.


Daily Bread shelter set to open next summer

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Adrian Design GroupBy Bob Wheaton
ADRIAN, Mich. —

A homeless shelter, soup kitchen and food pantry could be operating by next summer in the former St. John’s Lutheran School.

Work on converting the vacant school at 440 E. Church St. will begin sometime next year, said Kathy Poisson-DeWitt, executive director of The Daily Bread of Lenawee, which is moving into the building.

The Adrian City Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a site plan for the project.

“We’re just absolutely thrilled,” Poisson-DeWitt said following the vote. “It’s going to mean a lot of positive things for people.”

Daily Bread will have more room to serve meals than at its current 302 S. Tecumseh St. location, she said. Plus the additional space will allow the charity to begin running a shelter and a freemedical and dental clinic, she said.

“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up,” she said of Daily Bread’s philosophy.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed next year on the main level of the building, includes turning the school gym into a soup kitchen and converting four classrooms into rooms for homeless families, said project architect Mike Nicklowitz of Adrian Design Group, 126 E. Church?St.

A food pantry also will operate on the main level unless the Daily Bread can get city approval to use a temporary classroom building for that purpose.

Planning commissioners said Tuesday it’s unlikely the charity will be allowed to use the temporary structure on a permanent basis.

Nicklowitz said the second phase — planned for 2011 to 2012 — involves moving the family rooms downstairs and adding more shelter rooms. The facility can have up to 40 residents at a time under planning commission approval.



Downtown facade project gets extension

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Adrian Design GroupBy Bob Wheaton
ADRIAN, Mich. —

As several downtown buildings get facelifts, the city has received an extension for completion of its facade project and is hoping to expand it.

The state Vibrant Small Cities grant that the city received for the project was to expire at the end of 2009, but officials last week were granted a four-month extension, said Chris Atkin, the city’s director of community development.

Work at the H&R Block building, 149 S. Main St., is nearly complete, while improvements are continuing at Joe Anne Steele Insurance, 130 N. Main St., and Copeland Furniture, 136-140 N. Main St.

Work began recently at the Barley House Tavern, 113 E. Maumee St.

The former Robert Jewelers, 116-120 S. Main St., which is also undergoing facade improvements, could be converted into apartments with a downtown rental rehabilitation grant from the state, Atkin said.

Business owners said they’re hoping the facade improvements will draw more people downtown, along with the recent conversion of Main Street totwo-way traffic.

“If the economy starts ticking up, and with the two-way traffic, and once we get this done, I think it can only work for the good,” said Joe Ann Steele, owner of Steele Insurance, which is getting fresh paint and new windows.

Copeland Furniture owner Brian Copeland agreed, although he said the city also needs to attract more businesses downtown.

A blue corrugated metal sign on the front of Copeland’s store was removed, exposing its original facade.


Design firm’s work on display in Adrian

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Adrian Design GroupBy Arlene Bachanov

When the economic downturn led to their getting laid off by their employer, Mike Nicklowitz, Bryan Autullo and Kay Barber turned the situation into a positive by starting up their own architectural and interior design firm in Adrian.

Adrian Design Group, at 126 E. Church St., got its start in March after Nicklowitz, Autullo and Barber were laid off by the Meier Group, an architectural firm with offices in Adrian and Ann Arbor, and decided to go into business for themselves. Their operations are housed where architect David Siler had his offices until his retirement.

“With Dave Siler retiring, it was a wide-open market,” Autullo said.

It didn’t take long for their work to be visible in Adrian. The firm recently completed the design work for the façade restorations of five downtown buildings: the H&R Block Building, Robert Jewelers, the Barley House Tavern, Joe Ann Steele Insurance and Copeland Furniture.

“That’s worked out really well,” said Nicklowitz, who’s the firm’s principal.

The trio has many years’ experience between them, working on a wide range of building projects in Lenawee County and throughout the region from Ann Arbor to Toledo and everywhere in between. 
“We’ve done multimillion-dollar projects,” said Autullo, Adrian Design Group’s project manager. “Hospitals, high-rises, nursing homes, you name it, we’ve done it.”

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