It's been in the works for a while, but as the town prepares for the bulk of construction as part of phase II of the Berlin High School renovation project, officials have finally had a chance to slow down a celebrate a bit.
The town celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning, with state and local officials coming together to break ground on the second phase and celebrate the project being on time. Mayor Adam Salina and School Superintendent David Erwin said as of now, the first phase of the project will be ready to open in April.
"It's exciting to be at this point. It truly has been a true community undertaking," Salina said. "We can't wait to get a glimpse of the new work and give parents, students and staff a taste of what the whole project will look like when it is finished."
The first phase of the project unveiled will include several classrooms, as well as the cafeteria space.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin and Southington, explained that he worked with Rep. Cathy Abercrombie and Sen. Terry Gerratana on legislation (SB 876) to secure $19.3 million through the state’s School Construction Grant Program to help pay for the much needed overhaul of the 60 year-old building that includes replacing the roof.
“I’m thrilled to finally see construction underway. I would like to thank the many people who have worked so hard and so long to get us here today,” Aresimowicz said.
First opened in 1953, the high school has been showing serious wear and tear. In 2011, a ceiling collapsed in a classroom because of water leaking through the roof. As a result, the town voted in a 2011 referendum for an almost $70 million renovation project of the aging high school. The project is called "build-as-new" which means everything in the high school would be gutted and renovated as new.
“If today's groundbreaking marks anything, it stands for the community of Berlin coming together—young and old, parents and non-parents—on behalf of our children's and community's future. This groundbreaking ceremony isn't about today, but it is about the many days to come for Berlin's children,” said Berlin Board of Education President Gary Brochu.
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