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Danbury Officials Tour Career Academy Site, Receive Update on Phase II Construction

Posted on October 27, 2023

Danbury, Conn.—State and municipal officials from Danbury were invited Thursday to tour the former Cartus property where work is underway to retrofit the building into a shared middle and high school.  State Representatives Rachel Chaleski (R-138) and Patrick Callahan (R-108), City Councilmembers and members of the Board of Education joined school administrators, construction managers and Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola on a walkthrough while receiving an update on Phase II construction.

“There’s such a difference from when we broke ground in February. Things are moving along outside on creation of a dedicated bus loop and the expansion for the gymnasium before the cold winter weather sets in,” said Callahan.

The City was able to reuse the existing cafeteria and work that footprint into the cafeteria for the middle and high school students. The media center will be a shared space, with middle and high school students using it at different times of the day. There will also be separate nursing facilities, but the doors will allow the two to work together in case of an emergency.

The Academies of Danbury encompasses all high school students. Danbury West, what is commonly referred to as the Danbury Career Academy will be a satellite campus of Danbury High School and house two of the six career pathways.

“The pathways and career academies were selected to incorporate more technical aspects into curriculum and based off research on current and emergency job openings,” said Chaleski. “Students will be together in their chosen academy classes and the rest of the time take global courses or electives.”

An additional $10 million in partial funding was secured this year to retrofit the Cartus property, but conditions were placed on that funding. It can only be put toward the purchase of the site, not for construction activities. Iadarola told officials at the Office of School Construction Grants & Review in February that $20 million was needed.

“We are appreciative that this $10 million in partial funding has been secured but feel the City would have been better served had the entire delegation worked collaboratively on the entire request we advocated for since February rather than a promise to continue to work on this issue next year,” said Chaleski and Callahan. “Securing every bit of money possible for education in Danbury is a priority for us because when we don’t, it is the children who suffer. Continuing to advocate for additional state resources for the betterment of Danbury students is something we will be working towards in the upcoming legislative session.”