To the Editor:
Traveling up and down Rt. 25 in Trumbull these days is quite an experience. With traffic cones shift the lanes back and forth, construction vehicles everywhere and a giant moat between the north and southbound lanes filled with gray muck; you might miss another major construction project just north of the Old Town Road exit - a giant building emerging from the woods to the west of Rt. 25. At night it’s a very impressive sight with the building skeleton lit up by hundreds of lights.
Many people may wonder what this new construction project is on our border with Bridgeport because the local media has not give this project the coverage it deserves. Is it a new corporate neighbor moving to town? No, it’s the new $126 million Fairchild-Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School – the largest and most ambitious school infrastructure project in Connecticut history. The school will offer a 21st century curriculum focusing on three areas: Information Technology – in conjunction with Sacred Heart University, Zoological Studies – in conjunction with the Beardsley Zoo, and Physical Science, Math and Aerospace – with learning and internship programs with GE, Sikorsky and other area companies. 1500 students in grades 9-12 will attend this school when it opens in 2013. 70% of the students will come from Bridgeport and the other 30% will come from the surrounding communities of Trumbull, Easton, Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford, Monroe and Milford.
The magnet high school will be the greenest school in the state. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, the building will get close to 120kW of power from wind turbines and solar panels. It will have a green roof design and it will use green building materials with energy-efficient mechanical systems. The completed landscaping will use native vegetation and 76% of the site will be maintained as open space. And the project has provided employment for hundreds of construction workers – a significant bonus in these hard economic times.
How did this Bridgeport school come to be located on its current site on land that until recently belonged to the town of Trumbull? Who was the driving force behind its planning and construction? The answer, which might surprise you, is Easton resident Claire Gold, the retired former Superintendent of the Westport Schools. Recently John Hartwell and I had the opportunity to sit down with Claire at another of her projects, the Discover Magnet Elementary School on Park Avenue in Bridgeport. We interviewed her for our Democracy for America – Fairfield County show, Stream of Conscience. Claire discussed her fascinating journey from Westport to Bridgeport and now to Trumbull (sort of). You can tune in to Charter CommunityVision Channel 21 this Tuesday at 2:30 PM or Wednesday at 7:30 PM to watch this interesting interview. Or you can see the entire show online at http://www.youtube.com/user/DFATVnet. I think you’ll find it interesting to hear about the many struggles that went into bringing this gem of a school to our community. Fairchild-Wheeler will be an excellent complement to our newly renovated Trumbull High School – even if, sadly, it no long resides in Trumbull.