Derby choosing new high school site
   By LINDA G. MELE, Correspondent   Thursday, February 22, 2001   
   DERBY -- School officials will choose between two sites for a new high school and have begun refining an architect's plans for the building.

                   At a meeting of the Board of Education recently, Supt. of Schools Martin  Gotowala and board Chairman James Gildea asked members for their input on the architectural plans for the school.

                   The current 120,000-square-foot plan is scaled down from the 135,500-square-foot proposal submitted by architects from Fletcher Thompson Inc. of Bridgeport.

                   The city would sacrifice some state reimbursement for construction if it built a facility as large as the one originally envisioned.  The architects have reduced the overall size of the building and incorporated 39 to 40 classrooms. 

                   A 7,000-square-foot library/media center would include a computer room and be about four times the size of the current high school library.

                   There would also be a 3,200-square-foot lecture hall with an 1,800-square-foot platform/stage instead of a traditional auditorium.

                   In addition, the plans show a gymnasium, a 1,500-square-foot weight room and a practice room for wrestling and cheerleading.

                   According to high school building committee Chairman Michael Kelleher, the choice of location is down to two sites, one being the 56-acre site on which the current high school sits on Nutmeg Avenue.

                   Kelleher would not reveal the other location under consideration.  Officials had considered as many as six sites.

                   "We're hoping to present a report regarding the location and any revisions to the plan at a joint meeting of the committee, the Board of Education and the Board of Aldermen no later than the second week of March," Kelleher said.

                   Several members of the building committee have visited the $26.5 million, 165,000-square-foot Ansonia High School that opened in the fall of 2000 to get ideas for the Derby project. 

                   The current proposals are not the first regarding the building of a new high school.  In a referendum last June, city voters defeated a plan to build a high school, turn the existing Derby High into a middle school, and revamp athletic fields.

                   Taxpayers and residents are welcome to attend the building committee's next meeting Monday in the Derby High School library at 7 p.m. 

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