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Just two years ago, Guilford voters approved the construction of a $92,220,800 new Guilford High School (GHS) at referendum and, after many months of hard work from several dedicated groups, the community celebrated a formal groundbreaking ceremony on June 6.
"Today's a day, at times, that we thought would never happen. Today's a day that's a compilation of years of hard work by so many of Guilford's citizens," said First Selectman Joseph Mazza at the celebration. "Several years ago, Guilford had come to the realization that we needed to address not only the physical condition of the current building, but we also had to plan our facility that could accommodate the delivery of a changing education system. It has taken years of hard work, which required the support and the dedication of so many who are here today.
"Today represents the end of the design and development stage and beginning of construction. This is where it becomes exciting, where we will start to see what we have planned for become a reality, a reality that is not just a wonderful building, but a house of learning we can all be proud of," Mazza continued. "Although there are still many, many months of hard work ahead of us before we can gather here for the dedication, what we will end up with will be a new high school that will provide a better learning environment, an energy efficient building, and more secure environment that will meet the needs of all Guilford students for years."
Hundreds headed to the school's baseball fields, including school administrators, faculty, students, members of the Guilford High School Building Committee (GHSBC), of the Board of Selectmen (BOS), Board of Education (BOE), and several community members and residents. Speaking at the ceremony were GHSBC Vice Chair Barbara Casey, Mazza, GHS Principal Rick Misenti, and Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman.
All who spoke that day recognized all the people who have been committed over the several months of planning, preparing, and now constructing of the new high school that will have 21st-century learning capability, as well as spaces that are safe, functional and collaborative, and usable for the entire community. Construction is set to begin in July, with a completion date scheduled from summer of 2015.
"The very foundation of a school and a school system is its community, and its communities partnerships with the school and this high school celebrates a partnership second to none," Misenti said. "On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students, thank you. Thank you to this community for building us a brand-new high school."
The new high school will have three floors and 216,285 square feet for the 1,150 students who will attend. Tai Soo Kim Partners has been working on the design of the building, O&G-Fusco Joint Venture was hired as the construction manager, and The Morganti Group is the project's owner's representative.
"This will be a school Guilford will be proud of for years to come," Freeman said.