Days numbered for Center School
STRATFORD — Take your last look at Center School on Sutton Avenue.
Town Hall says by midSeptember, the site will look like there was never a school there in the first place.
The 3- acre site is being eyed as the perfect place for downtown shops, housing and a parking garage. With demolition imminent, that dream is a step closer to reality. The Town Council agreed in January to move forward with razing the former school, which opened in 1970.
Officials have released a timeline for the building removal and it’s been distributed to those living nearby. Many of those neighbors weren’t too keen on the way the school was abandoned by the town, but both school and town officials have said there was no realistic use for the building.
According to the timeline, a perimeter fence will go up around the worksite next week. Beginning the week of June 25, hazardous substances will be removed from the building. The school will be coming down between July 24 and Aug. 20.
Between Aug. 21 and Sept. 3, the foundation will be dug up and carted away. Finally, during the first two weeks of September, the site will be graded with new topsoil and seeded with grass.
Center School, which at one time housed about 255 students in grades K-6, was mostly mothballed in 2005, Only a small number of students remained there in special programs until 2015.
The town has received a grants to help turn the schoolyard into a viable commercial and residential space. First, a
$ 1.25 million brownfields grant was awarded to help with the removal of any toxic material on site to make it safe for demolition.
The town also received a $450,000 Complete Streets grant from the state, to be used to design a number of improvements for a portion on Main Street and Barnum Avenue to enhance safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. This was in addition to a $200,000 urban planning grant that was awarded earlier from the state, also involving the center of town.
Officials in Town Hall see the Center School site as ripe for so-called Transit-Oriented Development. This caters to millennials, who value proximity to mass transit and downtown attractions over homes in the country with lawns and shrubs. The school site is but a few steps from the MetroNorth train station.
Center School, on Sutton Avenue in Stratford, will be demolished and carted away over the next four months.