The City of Bridgeport is planning to build Connecticut’s most expensive new school ever.

A difficult location and eco-friendly design contribute to the school’s high cost.

Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission, Special Meeting, November 9, 2010

Chris Ferraro, landscape architect:

A lot of these options would have probably been a lot easier to build, maybe less costly to build

Rob Pryor, civil engineer:

The central area of the side, the southern portion of the site is much flatter. Certainly easier to develop, less costly to develop.


The building also includes green building features such as solar panels, wind turbines and a green roof.

According to 2006 estimates, the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School will cost $125.8 million. Since the project is a magnet school, state taxpayers will pay $119 million – or 95 percent – of the construction costs.

Because Bridgeport selected a site in a Trumbull park, that town’s planning and zoning commission has to approve the project before it can proceed.

However, not everyone in Trumbull is happy with the school’s design. Trumbull Volunteer Fire Co. #1 Chief Ed Gratrix is worried about the underground parking required by the school’s location.

Chief Ed Gratrix:

That parking garage under the school is terrifying. Additional access to that garage on that south side is not an option, it is imperative. That thing is 500 foot long. I’m going to have to send firefighters to put out car fires underneath 1500 school children. My hose off my trucks only goes about 250 feet in a perfectly straight line. I’ve got to get access in to that facility for car fires before I get multiple car fires.

My ladder truck just barely touches the roof, and only in one point. I now have no longer have that compound angle, I no more access. So, 50 feet is not short for a 95 foot tower. 50 feet is very high for a 95 foot ladder tower.

Next meeting, Trumbull Planning & Zoning, 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, Trumbull Town Hall

100 years from now the school is still going to be there. 50 years from now, you’ve got a school on top of cars. The nature of cars are going to change. We are going to get alternative fuel. I might not be around for it, but you can rest assured that what is going to park underneath that, is going to get more and more dangerous. If I had my choice, I don’t put a school on top of a parking garage. I don’t do that. If I can help it.