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$45 million career academy for Danbury middle, high school students proposed

A $45 million career academy for Danbury middle and high school students could be coming to the former Matrix building. 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the academy would address the surge in enrollment, while also filling a 1.2 million-square-foot vacant building. Initial plans call for about 40 classrooms for 1,100 students. 

Boughton says design requirements will be given to an architect and construction company, and the City will then buy back the portion of the building intended as the career academy.   Developers plan to have businesses and 400 apartments at the former Union Carbide world headquarters as well.  The Summit developers promised to pay $13 million over 15 years to cover the cost of any additional students the apartments could bring to the city.

Details were discussed Monday during the Vision 2020 Task Force meeting.  The group is developing plans to deal with overcrowding in the schools.  There would still be athletics and other activities, but also externships, internships and other training opportunities.   A shuttle bus would be provided. 

The student population projected to increase by as much as 7 percent over the next 10 years.

The Danbury City Council voted earlier this year on funding to create a 7-classroom annex for Ellsworth Avenue Elementary School, while 10 new preschool classrooms are expected to be ready this fall.  Danbury is applying for state reimbursement on eligible portions of those two projects.  Boughton is working with the legislature to approve a change to allow reimbursement on the so-called “design-build” method, which is unique from any other school project the state has granted reimbursement for, so far. 

State officials are visiting the building tomorrow.  The City Council will also need to sign off on approval, likely in August, in order to get the project on the November ballot. 

Similar to the way the Westside Academy came online, a class of 120 sixth-graders would attend the school the first year, with new grades being added each year. 

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Dave Rinelli

Local Headlines