Panel backs firm for school design
  Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, Register Correspondent   December 28, 2000

DERBY ó The High School Building Committee has recommended a Bridgeport architectural firm to design a new high school for students in grades 9 to 12.

Fletcher Thompson Inc. turned in the low bid among four firms that bid on the project, at $18,000.

However, the design phase could cost up to $30,000 if the committee opts to have Fletcher Thompson design the school using a new high-tech digital process, said Aldermanic President Michael Kelleher, D-3, who serves as chairman of the building committee.

Three other firms, including the Hartford firm of Jeter, Cook & Jepson, which designed the $38 million high school now under construction for Region 16, vied for the Derby job.

Kelleher said there is a lack of funding available to pay for the design phase.  To address that problem, the Board of Aldermen, Board of Education and Board of Apportionment and Taxation will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Derby High School to discuss obtaining the funds.

The three boards have met several times since November with the public at various educational summits to discuss the space crunch at the city schools.

According to Kelleher, Fletcher Thompson has designed more than 45 schools in the last 10 years.  The company worked with Derby officials on a $40.6 million proposal to build a new high school and convert the present one into a middle school that was defeated at a referendum in June.

A new building committee, appointed last month by Mayor Marc Garofalo, has been working on a new plan to address the school systemís cramped conditions. Kelleher said the plan now is to build a new high school only, which will result in a substantially lower cost than the original $40.6 million.

The committee has until June 30 to submit a new plan to the state Department of Education.