First Selectmen from Monroe and Easton and several Trumbull officials joined Bridgeport officials as the highest beam of the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-magnet High School was lowered Tuesday.
Two years of construction remain on the magnet school, which sits on parkland that used to be in Trumbull. The school will house 1,500 high school students with 500 each in three science magnets. Seventy percent of the students will be from Bridgeport. Trumbull could get about 50 seats, and the remainder will go to students from other surrounding towns.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch praised the school, which he said is the greenest in the state, using sun and wind for energy and reusing rainwater. Construction workers also gathered around to listen.
"If you're hardworking and you're honest you get to celebrate the fruits of your labor. You're helping to build the future," he said.
The school is putting construction workers to work and will produce the next astronauts, physicists and engineers, Finch added.
"This is monumental. We had to fight like the dickens to get this," according to the mayor. "The kids of bridgeport can do the same things as other kids, given the right opportunity."
The state is picking up the $126 million construction cost, making the school the most expensive to build in the state.
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He added that another magnet school in Bridgeport is attracting people from the suburbs. There is a waiting list of 500 people to attend the magnet school next to the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport.
State Sen. Anthony Musto, D-Trumbull, whose district includes Bridgeport and Trumbull, stood with Finch. Trumbull School Board member Lisa Labella also attended.
Later Musto said, "I'm glad I was there. I'm glad the legislature could make this happen."
"This is kind of project the state can assist in. We're going to have a great school," Musto said.
The park is state land formerly housed in Trumbull, but now in Bridgeport after the state legislature shifted borders. In exchange, Trumbull is negotiating for leasing land on the other side of Quarry Road that Bridgeport is using.
Musto said he did not know the status of the negotiations. Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst said he hopes to have lease in place by summer.
During the school's presentation before the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission, neighbors were concerned about traffic and crime and Trumbull emergency responders were also concerned. Bridgeport firefighters would be first responders to any emergencies at the school.
Also, blasting at odd hours has been reported by residents of the Eaves at Avalon (the apartments next door).