Marianne Lippard, Register Correspondent March 28, 2001
ó Three town boards will review a proposal
Thursday to build a $31.5 million high school on a portion of Field
The High School Building Committee wants to build a 127,500-square-foot high school on 25.5 acres off Route 34.
Farm owner Walter Hine owns the land, which straddles Orange and Derby with a small portion in Woodbridge.
The boards of Apportionment and Taxation, Education and Aldermen will hear the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Derby High School auditorium. The public is invited to attend; the boards are looking for input from citizens.
Last year, voters rejected a $40.6 million proposal to build a new high school and renovate and convert the current school on Nutmeg Avenue into a middle school.
Building Committee members are enthusiastic about the Hine property because the site offers sufficient space to build new athletic fields.
The acreage is part of a 65-acre farm that has been in the Hine family for generations. The 360-year-old farm is the oldest dairy farm in the state and one of the oldest in the country.
The city would pay approximately $13.5 million for the new school, after an anticipated 70 percent reimbursement from the state.
Aldermanic President Michael Kelleher, D-3, said one of the main areas of conflict is the planned 350-seat auditorium.
parents want a larger auditorium; the
current schoolís auditorium seats 600.
But Kelleher said the project cost will rise if the size of the auditorium is increased because the state wonít reimburse the city for the cost beyond a specific number of seats.
overall cost to the city for the high school if the auditorium is bumped
up to 450 seats would be $13.9 million. The figure would jump to $14.7
million for a 550-seat auditorium, he said.
The committee opted for a smaller auditorium to save money, Kelleher said.
"I think there should be some sort of performance area in the school," Kelleher said. "Itís a matter of dollars. In this case, itís strictly Derby dollars."
Mayor Marc Garofalo said he would not vote on the proposal when the boards meet, and is reserving judgment on whether the new high school will be appropriate for the city.
"I want to hear the full presentation first," Garofalo said.