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Danbury makes final touches on construction

Principal+Dan+Donovan+reports+that+construction+is+complete+except+for+a+few+%22punch+list%22+items.
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Danbury makes final touches on construction

Principal Dan Donovan reports that construction is complete except for a few

Principal Dan Donovan reports that construction is complete except for a few "punch list" items.

Angelea Fingado

Principal Dan Donovan reports that construction is complete except for a few "punch list" items.

Angelea Fingado

Angelea Fingado

Principal Dan Donovan reports that construction is complete except for a few "punch list" items.

Amish Soni, Staff Writer

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Although the $50 million construction project is officially finished, workers are now completing “punch list” fixes such as faulty alarm codes, science tables and a not-so-official Freshman Academy basketball court.

Many problems led to the completed construction of the new Freshman Academy gym.

One of the larger punch list items was to fix was the basketball court, which wasn’t built to official standards for FCIAC games. Foul lines, the keys, all were off.

Athletics Director Chip Salvestrini said the gym, although it can’t be used for official games, will be used as auxiliary for the wrestling team and cheerleading squad.

Salvestrini explained that a communication error between the City of Danbury and architects led to the rebound line being placed two feet closer to the endline than allowed in regulation standards.

Salvestrini added that despite the mistake, the Freshman Academy gym will be an excellent place for “athletes to practice after school on shorter times than the traditional prolonged hours.”

Principal Dan Donovan said the gym can still be used as an “opportunity to expand time management for sports after school” despite the flaw.

In addition to fixing the gym problem, pest control had to be called to deal with cockroaches in the academy. Donovan, however, said the problem has been resolved, and the building is now bug-free and back to sanitary standards.

Currently, however, there is also a leaky roof problem that has yet to be repaired.

Despite the issues, DECO director Sarah Roy, whose office is now in the new building, said, “The new building is beautiful; we needed the space.” She elaborated, explaining that the changes have been productive and helpful as DHS had to accommodate a growing student population.

Although Donovan said he’s content with the construction of the Freshman Academy, labeled the G-building, he supported the building of another high school, or academy, to relieve the pressure of educating 3,200 students in one setting. As city officials like to brag, Danbury is one of the few Connecticut communities to keep growing while others are losing population. Yet, it has only one high school.

Donovan pitched an “academy” tailored to prepare students for certain careers. He said students should have their studies surrounded by a career of their choice acting as the center for academic learning.

Though major construction centered on the academy, the project also included the construction of a black box theater called DHS Performing Arts. In addition to a stage, the building near the auto shop also has classrooms.

Donovan explained that the theater gives the “community a way to connect” as it allows for public meetings and Board of Education conferences. Additionally, DHS teachers have made good use of the performing arts center so far.

“I like the space as a film teacher. It’s an exceptional luxury,” said Scott Carrizzo, an art teacher who teaches film production. Carrizzo, along with Mike Obre, Art Department chair, uses the black box theater to show films during flex, and to showcase student work.

As the overall size of DHS has increased with the new additions, more safety precautions have also been added. Several new features, including fencing across the exterior of DHS leading toward the auto shop and stadium area, have sprung up since the finalization of construction.

Donovan said the new fencing is another “security measure, ensuring school and student safety,” ultimately preventing easy access from the outside.

Another matter, that apparently doesn’t need fixing, is handicapped access to the front of the building. Donovan has received complaints regarding the lack of ramps between the front parking lot and the apron to the school entrance. He points out, however, there is a ramp located central to the apron. Someone in a wheelchair would need to steer toward that ramp to gain access.

The hassle, as Donovan expresses, lies in the “placement of the access point and the curb that causes the inconveniences for people.” However the existing access point still follows federal law for providing access abilities for the handicapped. The unfortunate error was simply made by state plans.

Regardless of any issues, students and staff alike are enjoying the new buildings. Amarryi Edwards, freshman, said, “It’s new, it’s just another building but it feels better.”

Freshman English teacher Melissa Teel said the building provides a new and improved environment for the students and teachers.

“The newer design has motivated students and they are more engaged in class,” Teel said.

Editor’s note: Staff Writers Erika Krohomer contributed to this report.

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About the Writer
Amish Soni, Staff Writer

Roots of reporting create a base for who I am and what I represent to the reporting world. My name is Amish Soni and journalism takes shape within my ancestors,...

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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800
Danbury makes final touches on construction