BY SLOAN BREWSTER REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
TORRINGTON – When asked if there have been any glitches in the ongoing $179.5 million Torrington High School/Middle School construction project, the project manager immediately acted upon superstition.
“Where’s wood?” Dan Hetzler asked, knocking on an edge he found on a nearby pile of construction materials. “None so far.”
Hetzler and Building Committee Co-Chairman Edward Arum said the project is running on schedule and within budget, and construction crews from O&G Industries and architects from Slam Collaborative are working well together.
Superintendent Susan Lubomski echoed that sentiment after visiting the campus Wednesday morning.
“The building project is on schedule,” she said. “The building is going up so fast. The weather has been perfect for the project.”
Ground officially was broken in October 2022, though some work was done at the site previously, Arum said. The state will reimburse 85% of all eligible costs, with the city responsible for the remaining 15%.
Arum credited state Rep. Michelle L. Cook, D-Torrington, for getting the state to chip in the bulk of the funding.
“We have a contingency, just in case we find something we didn’t anticipate,” Arum said. “But right now we’re in good shape.”
The 310,000-square-foot building will house students in grades 7-12. The goal is to complete the high school portion by December 2024 and bring students in by February 2025, Arum said. Middle school students are expected to enter by September 2025.
In March 2025, after everyone has moved into the new spaces, the old high school will be demolished, and new ball fields and parking lots will be installed in its place.
The project began with the high school wing and, as of Wednesday, the steel framing was completed in the cafeteria and kitchen, and the four levels were erected. The plan was to begin laying slab for the main-level floors late this week. From there, flooring will be laid in all levels, with a week in between each level.
When school closes for summer break this year, work will begin to connect the new building to the old school’s gym – the only area of the current school that will be salvaged.
“The reason why, we saved $1 million, but also if we put a brand new gym in, it would’ve been smaller,” Arum said, noting size restrictions have changed per state law.
The gym will be stripped down to the steel frame and all new materials will be installed.
After the high school population moves into the new building, the old building, sans the gym, will be taken down, and a new entrance and foyer will be added to the gym, as well as an auto shop in the back.
After middle school students arrive in September 2025, crews will work on building the new athletic fields until about Christmas of that year.