1225 Northbrook Parkway; Suwanee, GA 30024
Years Principal 1995–2007 Gary Glenn 2007–July 2009 Jane Rexinger July 2009–2013 Arthur F. Reitz 2013–2014 Jodi Lovett Fall 2014 Gary Glenn Nov. 2014–Present Kim Mankin
School Colors: Red, White and Black
The Buice Center is a Gwinnett County school is home to three programs that offer a continuum of services to students with special needs: The ADAPT, the BRIDGE, and the STRIVE programs.
- ADAPT (Assisting Developing Adults with Productive Transitions) is a functional life skills program with an emphasis in community participation. The program is designed to teach home living skills, vocational skills, and community skills to young adults with disabilities, allowing them to maximize their independence in adulthood. Students learn domestic, vocational, community, and social skills, as well as self-advocacy. Through scaffolded (supported) learning opportunities, students are able to transfer their skills from the classroom to the community. Up to four days a week, students can participate in community skills outside of our building at one of 30 job or leisure sites. Within our building, we use a mock apartment with a kitchen and laundry, provide a recreation and leisure setting for social interaction, and offer a variety of vocational training opportunities. Students also may be responsible for jobs within the school building, such as shelving books in the media center or working with clerical staff.
- The BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Discipline, Goals, and Education) program provides comprehensive educational and therapeutic support services to students who might otherwise require residential or other more restrictive placements due to the severity of one or more of the characteristics of the disability category of emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) and others. The BRIDGE serves students through educational services and supports, academic instruction, behavioral intervention, therapeutic support (provided by in-house school psychologists, school social workers, and behavior specialists), collaboration with student’s home school, and interagency and parental support. Our mission is to provide a safe, caring, therapeutic environment where students with educational, behavioral, and social challenges can best develop the skills and character necessary to rejoin their communities with success. We strive to provide individualized education that addresses students’ unique learning styles, cultivates independent thought, and promotes the building of character so students can learn to be citizens of a culturally diverse society.
- STRIVE (Supported Training and Rehabilitative Instruction in Vocational Education) is a community-based work skills program for students with special needs, with an emphasis on acquisition of adult independence. The mission and purpose of the program is to provide real-life work experiences for students with intellectual disabilities in real community-based businesses. During their time in the program, students receive instruction on basic work skills and appropriate work behaviors. STRIVE provides an instructional focus on IEP Transition Plan activities, postsecondary goals, and outcomes. Students learn a variety of job skills as well as soft skills needed for all types of employment. Soft skills include professionalism, work ethic, enthusiasm, teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. The STRIVE program helps to empower students to reach their full potential, offering many benefits to participating students, including full community integration and inclusion, a competitive edge in the workplace, a bridge to adult life through supported transition, and an opportunity to explore career clusters through a variety of job tasks.
The three programs moved to the facility on the campus of Northbrook Middle School in 2015, when the school where it was previously housed (Hooper Renwick) closed. In March of 2015, the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to sell the Hooper Renwick property located in Lawrenceville to the City of Lawrenceville and the Buice School located in Sugar Hill to the City of Sugar Hill.
Originally, the school was referred to as Northbrook Center. However, its name was changed to the Buice Center in January of 2019, keeping alive the name of a former facility named after longtime educator Thompson Carl Buice. The School Board resurrected the name that had previously been attached to the Sugar Hill school that had served pre-kindergarten and HeadStart students. That facility closed in 2015.
The original Hooper Renwick School opened in the early 1950’s and at the time was the only public school in the county that black students could attend. Black students in grades 1-12, bused from all corners of the county, learned in the 12-classroom Hooper-Renwick School building, constructed in 1951. The school was named after Mack Renwick, who donated three acres on Neal Boulevard for the school, and Marshall Hooper, the first principal of the school. The school closed in 1964 and over the next 30 years this facility served as home to various Gwinnett County school departments and programs.During the early 1990s, the Gwinnett student population grew at an incredible rate. During this time, the county began to investigate how it could better serve the county’s middle and high school students with severe emotional and behavioral problems. With the Hooper Renwick facility vacant at the time, the decision was made to totally renovate the facility to meet the unique needs of this special education population. In 1995, the Hooper Renwick School reopened under the direction of administrator Gary Glenn. In opening this school, the district brought together students that had previously been served at five different schools within the county under one roof. This move provided the students with the special attention they required and was met with almost immediate success. This “new” Hooper Renwick facility opened with only six classrooms and approximately 30 students, but like the rest of the county, growth was inevitable. During the next few years the program continued to grow and with the addition of students with autism in 1997, the school served a student population of more than 135 students in 25 classes.
Today, Northbrook Center carries on the rich tradition of the schools that are a part of its history. The school, which serves approximately 225 students in 2022, strives to ensure that all students—each and every one—receives the individualized supports and services to help them to academically, behaviorally, and vocationally to become independent, productive members in the community.
About Mr. Buice:
The facility was named for Thompson Carl Buice, a native of Forsyth County, Georgia, who was an educator in Gwinnett County Schools for 40 years. He served as principal of Sugar Hill Elementary and High School, the high school later being consolidated into North Gwinnett High School; was principal of Centerville Junior High School; and ended his career teaching at Central Gwinnett High School. Mr. Buice was, in large measure, responsible for Sugar Hill High receiving accreditation by establishing a gymnasium, canning plant, home economics, business education, music, athletics, agriculture programs, and a hot lunch program. For many years, he served as both principal and basketball coach at Sugar Hill. He also considered it his responsibility to make sure the coal-fired stoves were going when students arrived on cold mornings at their classrooms.
He graduated from Oglethorpe University, studied at Emory University, and received a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. Mr. Buice was co-sponsor and first president of the Retired Teachers Association of Gwinnett County. In 1985, he was given the Public Service Award by the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Mr. Buice was a member of the Buice Brothers and Piedmont College Quartets. They recorded for Brunswick, Columbia, and Blue Bird recording companies.
During his lifetime of service in Gwinnett County, Mr. Buice lived in Sugar Hill, and was a dedicated and active servant of this community and his church. He was married to the former Velma Light. They had two sons, Randall Avon Buice and Carl Sherrill Buice. Upon the death of Velma Light Buice, he was married to Martha Mercier Buice. Both Velma Light Buice and Martha Mercier Buice retired as teachers after lifetimes of service in the Gwinnett County school system.