The new Guilford High School is on schedule and on budget to welcome students for the start of school on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The construction of the new school, which began in June 2013 with a budget of $92,220,800, has stayed on track throughout construction according to Guilford Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman.
“Considering the magnitude of the project, it has gone incredibly well,” he said. “The town building committee, the architect, the construction firms, everyone has done spectacular work.”
As the building nears completion, town officials are working to ensure the building passes all of its safety inspections.
“We are working very closely with the town building officials and the town fire marshal. The building, and especially the site around the building continue to be a construction and demolition zone in areas, so we don’t have our final and clean bill of health yet, but it has passed all inspections to be ready for kids,” said Freeman.
Town Building Official William Thody said the school is in the process of passing the last of its inspections.
“The school is the last stages of inspection, but the bulk of the school will be open on time,” he said. “There are still things to be done such as the removal of the old school and the ground work, which will take place once removal is complete.”
Fire Marshal Charles Herrschaft could not be reached for comment.
What’s New in the New School
Teachers and administrative staff are already in the building and First Selectman Joe Mazza says students have a lot to look forward to when they return to school.
“I think the kids will be just dazzled by what the school has to offer,” he said.
The new building will be equipped with accessible technology, an interactive media center, Internet cafés, breakout spaces, larger classrooms, and more flexible workspaces.
“It is really, really impressive space,” said Freeman. “The building is going to be a space that people will be happy to occupy. Student learning is more on display and kids will not simply be confined to classrooms to do their work.”
Beyond the new technology, Freeman says the new building will help to elevate the level of learning that takes place at the school.
“Instruction at the old Guilford High School had evolved way beyond the building, teachers were doing things that the building would try to restrict,” he said. “We now have a building that will now try to facilitate the things teachers are trying to accomplish, such as research and collaboration.”
With the entire Guilford Public School System starting two weeks late to accommodate the high school construction, Freeman also said adjustments have been made to try and keep the school year on track.
“What we have done is, even though we are opening late for students, we have tried to front load staff development days this year,” he said. “Staff reports for almost a full week of work next week and then the students return on the 8th. So while the student year starts later, it doesn’t significantly impact the close of school in June.”