High school opening celebrated today

Mayor Bill Finch and Supt. Paul G. Vallas, together with Gov. Dannel Malloy and State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, will celebrate the opening of the first new high school built in Bridgeport in 50 years on Monday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m.

The Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus, located at 48 Quarry Road, is set to welcome its first two classes of students at the end of August. The new school features an advanced science-technology focus and has been built to exacting standards which should net it the LEED Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Originally set for Trumbull

Finch has championed the building of this school, which originally was slated to be built on park land in Trumbull. After months of negotiations, Finch was able to work with the state legislature and Malloy to come to an agreement to redraw the city boundaries to move the property into Bridgeport and move the project forward.

The new $126 million state-of-the-art school — the largest and most ambitious school infrastructure project in Connecticut history — is the most environmentally friendly school in the state. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified, the building will get close to 120kW of power from 10 wind turbines and solar panels. It has a green roof design and its construction includes eco-friendly 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.

STEM classes

This high-tech school, which in itself will be a teaching and learning tool for students and staff, will offer a 21st Century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project-based curriculum focusing on three areas: Information technology, biotechnology/zoological science and physical science, math and aerospace/hydrospace engineering. Partnerships with the three area universities will provide opportunities for students to acquire college credits.

Seven hundred fifty students in ninth through 10th grades will attend the school when it opens this fall. Seventy percent of the students will come from Bridgeport and the other 30% will come from the surrounding communities of Trumbull, Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford, Easton/Redding, Monroe and Milford.