Building Meeting Gets Contentious

Cody Tromba and Hannah Bushell

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On January 15, 2020, Stamford officials held an informational session about a tentative plan to demolish and rebuild certain schools in the district. Many of the audience members were Stamford residents, including both parents and Stamford Public Schools officials.

Stamford’s Director of Administration Mike Handler was the primary presenter, and discussed future plans for Roxbury Elementary School. His presentation led the audience to debate the logistics, including the time it would take to rebuild an entire school and where their children would learn during the reconstruction period. Other inquiries were made, including whether or not the students’ education would be as through if they were to work in an unfamiliar environment . Handler replied to these concerns with an explanation of how the students need to be moved regardless, in order to ensure their safety.

Handler did, however, explain how there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past to renovate the schools. Expenses often interfere with budgets, which creates conflict when considering how a school needs to be built with the strongest, toughest, and therefore expensive materials in order to ensure safety and longevity. However, Handler explained that fixing the dangerous school environments is essential to the health of the district’s students, regardless of cost.

Handler continued by proposing the construction of another school on Strawberry Hill Avenue. The audience responded with concerns about how this would impact the traffic in the area, with Stamford High School right down the road. Parents and community members complained that the area was becoming too much of a “school zone” which would lead to a jam packed and an extremely congested area. Handler addressed this concern by stating that the traffic flow around Roxbury Elementary School, which is right next to Westhill High School, is perfectly fine.

At the end of the meeting, it was shared that the proposed renovations would cost $500 million.