November 6, 2019 – Students, educators, Town officials, and project stakeholders representing Antinozzi Associates, Turner Construction, and Capitol Region Education Council recently gathered to witness the Topping Off Ceremony at the Stratford High School project site. After being covered in signatures of both students and dignitaries, the final structural beam for the new gymnasium was hoisted into place as the crowd looked on.
Stratford High School began as a two-story facility originally constructed in 1924, with multiple additions dating from 1929 to 1987. The expansion renovation design replaces nearly the entire school in phases to allow for new construction on a continuously occupied site, resulting in a new 240,000 SF facility. The first phase, comprised of the Administration and Academics building, a cafeteria, and a pedestrian bridge over King Street connecting the existing school to the new building, was completed in the Fall of 2018 to serve the immediate needs of the school. The second and current phase, for which the steel frame was just completed, will house the school’s civic and large assembly functions, including a lecture hall, the 550-seat auditorium, and the main gymnasium with a seating capacity of 1,100.
Departments have their classrooms arranged in cohesive groups or “clusters” to encourage collaboration and resource sharing. The Career and Technology Pathway Programs classrooms include clusters with computers and classroom lecture spaces adaptable to the needs of the instructor in the prescribed courses. These clusters include the following pathway programs: Business and Finance, Culinary Arts, Health and Medical, Human Development, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Spaces within the school are flexible to meet current and future high school programs. All classrooms, labs, workrooms for special education, art, music, and faculty, administrative offices, and the media center are fully integrated with current technology. Meeting spaces, athletic facilities, food service areas, the lecture hall, and the auditorium will also be accessible to the community during non-school hours.
Senior Project Manager, Lisa Yates of Antinozzi Associates, has been guiding Stratford High School through the design and construction since September of 2015. This project started off as a major design and coordination effort with a large in-house team of architects and interior designers, as well as engineering consultants from many disciplines. Working closely with Turner Construction, the project team has ensured that all programmatic goals and design nuances are translated from virtual reality to the brick-and-mortar building.
The renovation of Stratford High School is one of particular significance to Principal-In-Charge, George Perham – an SHS alum. In fact, it was at Stratford High School that he realized his love for architectural design. Perham credits his high school drafting teacher, Mr. Kekacks, with nurturing his love of drawing. “I totally fell in love with the idea of drawing lines with pencil and straight edges that actually turned into places to live, work, and play,” Perham said.
This personal connection to the project has added even more value to its design, and while it’s gratifying to witness the placement of the final beam, the greatest reward will be the completion of an educational facility that lends itself to the innovation and ambition of a new generation of students at Stratford High.