New Davis Street School Opens

Monday, April 25, 2011
Christopher Hoffman
203-946-8450 (office); 203-721-3184 (cell)
               New Haven today opened the new $48.1 million Davis Street Arts and Academics Magnet School, the 34th school and 35th project built or rehabilitated since the city launched its ambitious school building program in 1998.
                  The new school at 35 Davis Street is state of the art with a computer lab, a science lab, a library, music rooms and performance space, an art room, an art display area, a gym and a cafeteria. It replaces the former Davis Street School built in 1918, which was demolished in 2009 to make way for the new school. Builders saved the school’s original 1918 cornerstone and masonry sign and incorporated them into the atrium area of the new school.
           Davis Street School is an inter-district magnet school with an arts and academics theme serving about 470 pre-kindergarteners to seventh graders from New Haven and about 10 surrounding towns. Davis Street is a “Tier I” school, the highest of three rankings the district gives based on test scores, rate of academic improvement and school climate.
          “A new school enhances the learning environment and fosters pride, but just as important are top quality, teachers, administrators and staff,” Mayor John DeStefano , Jr. said. “Davis Street School is a model because of the forward thinking and innovation of its teachers and administrators. With programs like February vacation CMT camp and its literacy partnership with the Yale Center for British Arts, Davis Street School prepares students for life-long learning and success in high school, college, and beyond."
          “This magnificent school is another addition to our state-of-the-art buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo said. “Cutting edge facilities like Davis Street School are part of our commitment to outstanding education. I am proud that Davis Street students and staff will have this new facility where they can build on their record of academic excellence.
          “I thank Mayor DeStefano, the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Education for their vision and support of our school construction program as well as the builders, architect and workers who constructed this wonderful new school,” Mayo said.
                 “The students, staff and I are excited to move into such a beautiful new school,” Principal Lola Nathan said. “We have looked forward to this day for months and are ecstatic it has finally arrived. I have no doubt that we will reach new heights in this amazing building. The old Davis Street School educated kids for nearly 100 years. I expect that this school will equal or exceed that record.”
                 The new Davis Street School is 72,000 square feet with 21 classrooms on three floors. The school will add 8th grade next year.
                 Davis Street School spent last two years in the former Vincent Mauro School on Orchard Street. Nathan and members of her staff came in during vacation last week to help move into the school.
          Thanks to the forward thinking and hard work of Mayor DeStefano, the Board of Aldermen, Superintendent Dr. Mayo and the Board of Education, the city of New Haven has obtained more state school construction funds -- about $1 billion so far -- than any community in the state. Because of their efforts, the city has invested more than $1.3 billion in city schools with city taxpayers footing less than a quarter of the bill -- about $300 million -- through bonding.
          Put another way, the city has paid through bonding just 23 cents of every dollar spent on school construction. 
          Those funds have built or rehabilitated about 3.5 million square feet of space – 34 schools and the satellite kitchen facilities -- enabling creation of magnet and specialty schools focused on everything from the arts, to international studies to the environment. As a result, New Haven has the state’s biggest and most successful magnet school program, attracting about 2,000 suburban students into New Haven.
                     On the Davis Street project, A. Prete Construction Company of New Haven was the construction manager, BL Companies of Meriden the architect and Gilbane Building Company, whose local office is in Glastonbury, the program manager.
                 Projects at East Rock School and Hill Central School are under construction.