BRIDGEPORT, CT - Mayor Bill Finch, Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Schools Superintendent Paul G. Vallas joined a host of local, state and federal dignitaries, in a large crowd of parents, students and supporters today to celebrate the grand opening of the Fairchild Wheeler Magnet High School, the first new high school built in the City in 50 years.
“The opening of Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus represents a transitional moment for Bridgeport and for the entire country,” said Mayor Finch as he addressed the crowd of nearly 500 people gathered in front of the school’s main entrance. “We have gone from three high schools in Bridgeport to seven, thanks to the opening of this new campus. This school will provide unprecedented curriculum in fields that are critical to the future of our nation. We need more engineers; we need more information technology and we need more scientists fighting climate change.”
The Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus 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.
Mayor Finch championed the building of this school, which originally was slated to be built on parkland located in Trumbull. After months of negotiations, Mayor Finch was able to work with the State Legislature and Governor Malloy to come to an historic agreement to redraw the city boundaries to move the property into Bridgeport and propel 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.
This hi-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 significant opportunities for students to acquire college credits. Seven hundred fifty (750) students in grades 9-10 will attend the school when it opens later this month. Seventy percent (70%) 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.