to be set for vote on school project
by Joanne M. Pelton, Naugatuck Valley Bureau Chief April 27, 2000
DERBY ó A $39 million school expansion proposal will finally go to referendum in June.
Mayor Marc Garofalo said Wednesday that the Public School Expansion Committee would meet next week to set the long-awaited referendum date. The committee will meet May 4 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
Garofalo said he hopes voters approve the project because it is "an investment in our future."
The proposal calls for construction of a 132,000-square-foot, four-story high school just north of the current high school on Nutmeg Avenue. The current high school would be converted into a middle school for grades 6 to 8.
New track, baseball and softball fields and two multipurpose fields would be constructed for the two-school campus.
Derby needs new schools because the current ones are "bursting at the seams," said Dr. Angelo DiRienzo, chair of the expansion committee and former superintendent of Derby schools.
The committee said new schools would also provide new technology for students.
Board of Education Chairman James Gildea said heís pleased to see that the project is finally going to a referendum.
"Itís been a long time coming," said Gildea, who noted that the final public hearing on the plan was in February. "Iím glad that a date is finally going to be set for this very important project."
Plans for the school started more than 18 months ago, and the plan is to build a $25.5 million high school and renovate the existing facility into an intermediate school at an estimated cost of $10.2 million.
Another part of the plan is to create an improved recreation complex at a cost of $3.5 million.
Gildea said the cityís share would be about $22 million, as the state will reimburse about 70 percent for the new high school, 50 to 60 percent for renovations to the existing school, and 35 percent for the recreation complex.
"This project is one of the most important issues in the last 10 years and Iím hopeful the voters will approve it," he said.
©New Haven Register 2000
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