A bond package totalling $53.5 million is being considered in Danbury for a new wing at the High School. A committee of the City Council met this week to talk about the plan to accommodate an increase in enrollment. The full City Council takes up the idea on April 7th.
The proposed design would essentially give the 9th grade their own building, creating the Freshmen Academy. Part of the plan calls for enclosing the current canopy at the cafeteria to accommodate the increased student population. A redesigned front entrance along with parking and bus expansions are also planned. The bond proposal also includes a new roof, which will be outfitted with solar panels.
The cost covers the addition, reconstruction of the current autoshop building and construction of a new facility to house the autoshop program. 62-percent of the project will be paid for by the state.
Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the proposed autoshop replacement building would include enhanced equipment. He says the existing building and equipment are antiquated based on what's currently being taught based on some of the electronics cars today have.
Alternative proposals to accommodate increased enrollment were more costly. One option was split sessions, similar to those held in the 70s, but that required a lot of buses and more logistics to organize. Another option was to bus students to other towns where there is declining enrollment, but no one district could take 100 to 150 students in one grade level without having to hire more staff.
Vision 2020 Committee Phase One work was to renovate the elementary schools and open the new middle school. The next phase is to accommodate increased enrollment at the high school level. There are 3,000 students currently enrolled at DHS, and that's anticipated to grow to about 3,450 over the next five years.