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Construction of new Norwalk High School Is Officially Underway

Rendering of new Norwalk High School designed by Kaestle Boos Associates. (Credit: Kaestle Boos.)

Construction of the new Norwalk High School got a ceremonial start Monday, with local officials, joined by Gov. Ned Lamont, tossing shovelfuls of dirt in the air for its official groundbreaking.

Construction workers, well along in demolishing the existing athletic field – the site for the new school — temporarily silenced their machines for the official groundbreaking. The ceremony occurred five years after announcement of the state-city partnership to fund the planned 328,000-square-foot structure.

Demolition of athletic fields has already begun at Norwalk High. (Photo credit: Harold Cobin.)

At an estimated cost of $239 million – with the state picking up 80 percent of the tab – the new building will house two schools: a comprehensive high school with 1,500 students and a P-TECH school with 500 students.

Completion is expected in early 2027.

After lengthy analysis of where to locate the new building on the existing campus, bordered by County Street and Strawberry Hill Avenue, the decision was made to place it where the school’s athletic stadium, Testa Field, now sits.

The effort to replace the existing school was spearheaded by state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25th Dist.).

Duff has emphasized his success in getting the state to raise its reimbursement for the school’s construction from the usual 22.5 percent to 80 percent. That will save Norwalk taxpayers more than $166 million. The city’s share amounts to $47.8 million.

In his remarks during the ceremony, Duff said construction will be difficult and disruptive at times, but the new building and its amenities “will be the envy of the state.”

The current building will continue to function during construction, but the work means the immediate loss of the stadium field and its running track, and the softball field along County Street, displacing the school’s athletic programs. Student parking will soon be moved to Andrew’s Fields, located several blocks west of the campus.

The new facility was designed by Kaestle Boos Associates of New Britain. Construction is being managed by Gilbane Building Company, with headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island.

Recalling tours Duff gave of the existing building to point out its inadequacies and deteriorated condition, Common Council President Darlene Young told the audience replacing the school meant replacing a hindrance to students with a state-of-the-art facility.

Gesturing toward Norwalk High students in the audience, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella said they were the motivation for creating the new facility.

Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Alexandra Estrella. (Photo credit: Harold Cobin.)

“We need to make sure that we have facilities that are equipped to set up experiences that prepare scholars for the future, and in order for us to do that, we need to have more projects like the ones that we’re seeing here today” Estrella said.

Gov. Ned Lamont said education is Connecticut’s “secret sauce” that allows him to tell other governors he meets that the state has “the best trained, most productive workforce in the world.”

Comments

3 responses to “Construction of new Norwalk High School Is Officially Underway”

  1. Bryan Meek

    And here’s what is all really about. The pictures and the press.

    This is the regional high school no one in the state wanted. Duff gladly sacrificed Norwalk and this generation of children for a building the state does not need and the city can not afford. The kids and parents are livid now, but so too will be Norwalk taxpayers when the truth comes out about how much this is going to cost Norwalk. They can’t hide it forever.

    Duff purposely highlighted areas of the building that were under repairs. Repairs he put and end to. Repairs that would have put another 50 years of useful life into this building allowing the city to take care of other buildings much older in much more need of repair.

    Did he show them the $40 million science wing that is newer than 90% of our other schools that is going to be beuldozzed that Norwalk is not being reimbursed for? Doubtful.

    But let’s get back to the kids, who a month out of the gate I can tell you are the afterthought.

    The project was being sold to us as being as minimally disruptive as possible. Well then why after a month long delay at the start could the children not use the tennis courts or track while they weren’t being bulldozed. The tennis team has to get on a one way bus to Roodner Court to play tennis and then dozens of parents get to pick them up because there is no return trasnsportation. Sure the multi $million fairly new tennis courts are about to be bulldozed any day, but why couldn’t the children use them this whole past month until that reality happened.

    This is just the beginning, it is going to get much, much worse.

    Graduation in Bridgeport at 2pm on a Wednesday, really says you could give a crap about the kids.

  2. Bryan Meek

    CT’s “secret” sauce when it comes to our cities is to pay prevailing wage contracts on unneeded projects forcing cities to ignore other more important areas of need.. Just ask Hartford what all these big fancy projects have done for it? Remember the photo op when they were bailed out $500 million? Yeah, me neither.

  3. Tysen Canevari

    We keep hearing about the 80 percent being picked up by the state. Who is the state? Us taxpayers of course. Lets place bets on the estimated of $239 million dollars. I will bet my life it is way over that. Still going to cost the taxpayers of Norwalk at least 50 million right off the top. No offense to Bob Duff but envy of the state? Have you ever walked the halls at Staples, Darien, Wilton, or Greenwich High Schools? Thats just in our neighborhood. Just the other day I was watching the kids walk from Andrews field to the high school in the rain. Hardly accommodating let alone an insurance nightmare. It might not be the envy of our own city. McMahon is like a college campus if you ask me. Better facilities than I have seen in my travels than a lot of colleges! Also, what are we really accomplishing? Will the thousands in the apartments in town never have kids? Where will they go to high school when McMahon and Norwalk are jammed up? Why not fix Tracey School which looks like something out of prehistoric times? At the end of the day it is all about the exposure and staying relevant to get the votes. Why do we need a big ceremony with everyone holding a shiny silver shovel in their hands? 90 percent of them have nothing to do with the project other than getting their photo op for their political flyer. I think Governor Lamont spends more time in Norwalk then he does in Hartford. So glad we can fill all your bucket. list items for your agenda. Band Director Jeff Smith said stand tall and say you live in Norwalk? Even he left the town that is forgetting what made it great. Very sad!

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