New Strong School coming 2019
August Pelliccio – News Writer
All Southern students received word from Patrick Dilger via email that to commuter students, parking lot eight would no longer be available.
In place of the parking facility, JCJ Architecture and New Haven Public Schools are working toward the erection of a three-story elementary school. New Haven Public Schools will be leasing the land for a relocation of Strong Magnet School.
Plans have been in the works for a few years, according to the dean of the school of education, Stephen Hegedus. He said the prospect of such a project was one of the many reasons he decided to come to Southern in the first place.
“If it is done right,” said Hegedus, “it will be awesome.”
Any resident of the city of New Haven can apply to a New Haven Public School of Choice magnet school, and according to online literature available from their website, students are placed through a lottery system.
Strong School has been relocated several times already since its original opening in 1808, and more information about the school’s history and the new plans can be found from JCJ. Brochures and artists renderings of the architectural designs can be found at their Hartford office, or online at JCJ.com.
Hegedus said that because the university is controlled by the state, and the magnet schools the city, a partnership had to be agreed upon to take on this project.
“The two components of this partnership,” Hegedus said, “are the land and the academic opportunity.”
He said that an elementary school would serve as quite the resource for a school of education, especially considering the opportunities for internship. Strong school already employs six Southern graduate students at their present location, according to Hegedus.
For an environment where college students are learning to be educators, Hegedus said, “the idea of having children on a university campus is really awesome.”
The time frame is not set in stone, but Hegedus said we are pretty well on the way as far as planning goes. When the idea was proposed in 2012, Hegedus said a feasibility report was run to determine whether such a feat was possible, and what section of land could be leased.
That feasibility study yielded four possible options, of which, Hegedus said parking lot eight was the most sustainable.
“We looked at lot nine, a much more wide open space,” said Hegedus, “but that part of campus exists on a floodplain.”
He insisted that even though lot 8 does not have as much square-footage, JCJ has designed the building with efficiency, and the utilization of space is quite unique.
“The design was a very thoughtful and involved process,” said Hegedus.
President Joe Bertolino was asked to review the designs as well, and he told the school of education that he is excited for the project to break ground.
The goal of the New Haven Public School system, according to Hegedus, is to break ground at some point this semester and near completion in between 18 months and two years.
Likewise, JCJ estimates that the project will be completed at some point within 2019.
Photo Courtesy: David Tyson