Malloy, Finch, Vallas Celebrate New High School

magnet school opening
Crowd gathers for ribbon cutting of new high school campus. Image courtesy of Mayor's Office.

Governor Dan Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas were among the public officials that attended the ribbon cutting for the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus, the city’s first high school in 50 years. The event was attended by roughly 500 education advocates and school parents. From Mayor Finch:

“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.”

Finch, Malloy
Mayor Bill Finch and Governor Dan Malloy cut ribbon to new school.

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.

Students greet opening of new high school.

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.

Mayor Bill Finch applauded the small, minority and women-owned businesses and contractors who participated in the construction project.

Mayor Finch announced that 37% of the contracted work on the project was awarded to small, minority and women-owned businesses. Together, contracts for Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises totaled nearly $30 million. The construction project was managed by Fusco Corporation, a family-owned construction company renowned for its green mission and McKissack & McKissack, the oldest minority and woman-owned professional design, and construction firm in the nation.

inside view
Inside the high school campus.

Mayor Finch hosted a grand-opening ceremony and ribbon cutting today at 2 p.m.; the first students will begin classes on Aug. 29.

“Building a new state-of-the-art high school that provides Bridgeport students with an unprecedented curriculum, and creating opportunities for small, minority and women-owned businesses to succeed in the City of Bridgeport have been two of my highest priorities since taking office,” said Mayor Finch. “Today, I am very pleased to see that Fairchild-Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet High School will open for students this school year and that a high percentage of the work was done by small, minority and women-owned businesses.”

Contracts for the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict High School Construction Program were awarded to such companies as:

· Premier Construction, African American owned, Bridgeport based company performed masonry-related work

· P&C Fence, Woman-owned, Bridgeport based company that provided fencing

· PJ’s Construction, Hispanic owned company that provided trucking work

· DECCO, Asian owned, Bridgeport based company responsible for painting

· JAQ Concrete, African American owned company that provided concrete paving

· Kerri Electric, African American owned company provided wiring and installation

· RK Insulation, African American owned company that installed pipe and duct covers

· JFC Construction, African American owned company provided reinforcing steel work

The diverse composition of the workforce was achieved through the efforts of the City’s Small, Minority and Women-owned Business Resource Office (SMBRO), which helps small, minority, or women-owned businesses receive ample support and opportunities to grow and flourish. The SMBRO, one of the first initiatives of Mayor Finch’s administration, has been providing small businesses with the tools necessary to prosper in the City of Bridgeport for more than six years. In 2012, the office registered 85 new businesses and collected $15,000 in fines from companies in violation of the 2007 Minority Business Enterprises Ordinance.

Moreover, SMBRO, led by department director Deborah Caviness, provides an extensive database of local small, minority and women-owned businesses and sub-contractors, giving prime contractors access to hundreds of sub-contractors who are available to meet their hiring needs.

Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet High School complex will be comprised of three different high schools specific to areas crucial to modern-day business, innovation, and sustainability. For 1,500 students in the greater Bridgeport area, there will be opportunities to learn at the Information Technology and Software Engineering High School, the Zoological Science, Research and Biotechnology High School, and the Physical Sciences, Engineering and Aerospace/Hydrospace Science High School. Additionally, the complex will also serve as the temporary home of the Bridgeport Military Academy.



  1. Lennie,
    Cut the crap.
    One blog page to say Finch and Malloy will be at the dedication.
    One blog page to say Finch and Malloy were at the dedication.
    That’s about the only promise I can think of they both made and kept in quite some time.

  2. More important than anything above, how many contracts went to legitimately based Bridgeport businesses?
    That would be progress.
    Just think if we had required that of all of the contractors who were involved in the school construction from Fabrizi on.
    That would be real economic development.

  3. We are talking about Governor Malloy and Mayor Finch and a bunch of politicians and their busy schedules. Come on. It’s all about the press and nothing about the public.

  4. Just another example of how career politicians want to spend our money to build new facilities for photo ops while failing to do what needs to be done to address the huge achievement gaps and unacceptable performance in many of Connecticut’s schools, especially in Bridgeport. We need more substance and results and less symbolism and rhetoric. As a result, I expect Connecticut and Bridgeport will likely have new CEOs after the next elections.

    1. yahooy,
      Too many photo ops and not enough results. Senator Ayala also opposed HB5724 and, along with Senator Musto, needs to be held accountable for it at the polls next year.


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