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New High School On Council Agenda, Bridgeport Hospital Seeks Expansion On Current Harding Campus

February 18th, 2013 · 18 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning, Education

General Electric property

General Electric property on Boston Avenue. Photo courtesy of Morgan Kaolian.

Monday (today) is a holiday so the next meeting of the full City Council will take place Tuesday 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 45 Lyon Terrace. Among items expected to be referred to the Economic and Community Development and Environment Committee is the proposed land acquisition agreement between General Electric and the city to build a new high school, replacing the structurally challenged Harding High, on Boston Avenue. Mayor Bill Finch and Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas hope the agreement is approved soon so that construction can be completed in 2015.

Harding High

The current Harding High location, seen here, would open up expansion opportunities for Bridgeport Hospital. Photo courtesy of Morgan Kaolian.

Harding High School, nearly 90 years old, is a mess. A portion of the General Electric property would be set aside for a new high school in the proposed agreement. The current Harding campus would then allow a much-needed expansion of the adjacent Bridgeport Hospital and creation of construction and health care jobs. City Council agenda below:

COMMUNICATIONS TO BE REFERRED TO COMMITTEES:

33-12 Communication from Public Facilities re: Application for Waiver to Extend Driveway Width Located at 680 Park Avenue – Roosevelt School, referred to Public Safety and Transportation Committee.

34-12 Communication from OPED re: (Ref. #11-99) Community Capital Fund, Inc. (Successor to Bridgeport Neighborhood Fund, Inc.) Request to Release Reverter on 107-109 Columbia Street, 117 Columbia Street, 123-125 Columbia Street; 29 Ridge Avenue and 35 Ridge Avenue (the “Properties”), referred to Economic and Community Development and Environment Committee.

35-12 Communication from OPED re: Proposed Land Acquisition Agreement for a Portion of the General Electric Property located on Boston Avenue for the purpose of constructing a new high school, referred to Economic and Community Development and Environment Committee.

36-12 Communication from Treasurer re: Proposed Request for Approval of Master Banking Services Agreement with Webster Bank, National Association, referred to Contracts Committee.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Bridgeporteur

    This is why the money people put Finch in office.

  • Jim Callahan

    This is good news, and news Bridgeport needs about 20 times over.

    You are getting a new high school. It takes advantage of an antiquated industrial area that needed to be cleared.

    The vacated high school site allows expansion of one of the few great industries left in town–health care–that is not going anywhere. The project not only increases employment in this field but helps improve a neighborhood.

    Hopefully, improvements are included to Seaview Avenue from Boston Avenue to Barnum Avenue. Hopefully, ways of improving the Grand List come out of this.

    Maybe they want to change the name of the high school while they are at it from one of the least effective presidents of the United States. I’ve always thought of Warren Gamalial Harding as symbolic of the ineptness of the City of Bridgeport for the past half century.

    Having his name on a high school is a double mockery.

    The lede for the Harding obituary written by the poet E.E. Cummings:
    “The only man, woman, or child who ever wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead.”

    You like having that attached to a high school?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Jim Callahan,
    I did the economic checking you requested on Mayor Finch’s SNOW JOB, but it has not been posted and I cannot reach you. Contact me at 203-259-9642. Working on City subjects for the next hour or so. Maybe you will have another idea? Time will tell.

  • anna

    Great job by Finch buried in a blizzard of bad news the past few weeks. He deserves credit from the OIB crabs. It should be called General Electric Finch Campus.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Are you kidding? What is it like wearing the Mayor’s ass for a hat? I am certain you had to be Joking. Barack Obama High School. That would be an excellent name for the school. No need to keep the Harding name. YES, I am serious about this suggestion.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I am not sure this is a good idea. I thought 800 Harding kids were going to the new regional high school. If not so be it.
    We are taking 77 acres of industrially zoned property and putting a high school on the location. No taxes. We are then going to sell or whatever the old Harding High to Bridgeport Hospital, also no tax potential. Sure there will be jobs but they will be filled mostly by suburbanites. So what’s the benefit to Bridgeport?

  • CT Taxpayer

    Someone help me understand this. The multi-magnet high school campus will enroll 1,500 students, 1,000 of them from Bridgeport. Central High School is about to begin a major renovation and expansion. Where are the students who are going to occupy these schools? Is Bassick H.S. going to close? If not, why isn’t that building getting any attention? It’s as old as Harding and I’ll bet it isn’t in any better condition.

    The state may be paying for most of this, but let’s remember that WE are the state. These are our tax dollars, too. Let’s spend them wisely.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Hope this site will also include some high tech manufacturing or a research and development site. It would be nice to hear from the office of economic development. Remember this administration had an opportunity to weigh in on the Park Avenue parcel that could have had amazing potential but ended up with a McDonald’s. So much for the BRBC input. This was a possibility to really make an impact on a neighborhood. After 40 years of a grocery store. Economic development in this city is lazy at best. Does anybody even attempt to physically attempt to lure potential retail and business. Bridgeport needs to raise the bar.

  • Mojo

    *** You must give credit where credit’s due on the quick demolition and development planning that’s taken place so far. I believe Ruben Felipe was in charge somewhat behind the GE demolition and of course the schools buildings committee along with the Mayor’s Office. So far “Good Job” on this project, let’s hope it becomes everything it could be for the sake of future Bpt high school students, staff and the taxpayers. *** CRAB CAKES ***

  • Bridgeporteur

    Buildings Do Not a School Make! Where is the discussion on this issue? How much of a tax base did we lose when GE tore down these buildings? Why could we have not saved either Remington or GE? Other great cities preserve their assets. With hundreds of acres of vacant land in BPT why do we have to tear down more? Where is transparency here? What have the new school buildings constructed so far done to improve our education system? It has only gotten worse. If Bridgeport hospital needs to expand, why not use Mill Hill Avenue and St. Ambrose instead of putting public housing there? If Harding needs to expand, why not use Hedges Field? If 20% of this project is being funded by local tax dollars that’s still a lot! If we expand into two or three times the square footage of school space, that is a lot of maintenance, operating and upkeep costs being covered by taxpayers. Putting a school on the fringe of a neighborhood instead of in the center of a neighborhood makes it less walkable and less of a community center, as is the case with the Barnum School. This is the real moneymaker for those who really have the power who put Finch where he is. Improve the school system, don’t make pork barrel projects.

  • yahooy

    A magnificent move in the right direction. Now we must be vigilant in watching exactly who is involved in the financial aspects of such an ambitious enterprise. The last time this town entered into worthy and massive construction projects, a lot of people went to jail.

    • John Marshall Lee

      There is a School Building Construction Board or Committee in the City. It has nine members theoretically: the City Council has three of its members; the Board of Education is represented by three people, and the Mayor appoints three from the public at large. How frequently do they meet? Where are meetings held and at what time? Are minutes kept? Do they have any regular staff to assist? Does anyone know about any of this?

      Is any of this available to the public on the City web site? Who cares? Time will tell.

  • Maximizer

    Well finally someone is asking the right questions!!! A new high school about to open that will take 1,000 students from Bridgeport, dwindling enrollment each year–some to the area charter schools–and now a new building and renovations to Central–I don’t get the math. Yes Harding is a wreck–but so is Bassick and Bassick doesn’t event have a field! So Central is overcrowded–what about next year–the numbers will not be the same.
    The City Council and everyone who is speaking needs to ask about the numbers–what is the justification?

  • Hammond Egger

    The East Side has no real supermarket. We should put taxpaying businesses (and the jobs they’ll bring) onto this huge parcel of land. There’s plenty of space for businesses and a high school there.

  • Ron Mackey

    I find this as win-win for Bridgeport. A new high school plus the expansion of Bridgeport Hospital, yes, the hospital pays no taxes but new jobs will be created, new jobs and new careers. We need some type of commitment from Bridgeport Hospital to provide jobs and job training for residents of Bridgeport. Construction, construction, construction is the best news any city can get because it brings in money to the city. I think there will also be a real feeling of “pride” with what Bridgeport Hospital will do with their expansion.

  • Mojo

    *** Whether now or the future, the census numbers change as does the economy, so having new schools and hopefully “better” academics in our educational system along with more hospital jobs and better medical care availability will all be a plus for Bpt! *** Bpt Hospital School of Nursing ***

  • yahooy

    Let’s just be mindful of who gets these lucrative construction contracts. There are already political insiders involved who really have no business being involved. Transparency must be established with independent oversight. We cannot afford this ambitious building project and payment to developers who sue us because the goombahs received the work perhaps unfairly.

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