New Haven Dedicates New Davis Street School, 35th Project Since 1998

Thursday, September 8, 2011
Christopher Hoffman
New Haven today officially dedicated the new Davis Street Arts and Academics Interdistrict Magnet School, the 34th school and 35th project built or rehabilitated since the city launched its landmark $1.5 billion school building program in 1998.
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo, state Rep. Patricia Dillon, D-New Haven and Alderman Thomas Lehtonen, D-26, were among the dignitaries attending the dedication. The event featured musical and dance performances by Davis Street students and tours of the state-of-the-art $48.1 million facility.
The school, located at 35 Davis Street, enrolls 524 pre-school to 8th grade students from New Haven and 10 surrounding towns. Davis Street is a Tier I school, the highest of the district’s three rankings based on test scores and learning climate.
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. said, “New buildings like Davis Street are just the beginning. Education is the best violence reduction and economic development tool. The district’s School Change reforms seek to improve academic performance and learning climate with the goal of making New Haven the nation’s best urban school system. Davis Street, one of the district’s top ranked schools, is a model because of the forward thinking, dedication and innovation of its teachers and administrators and the commitment of its parents and students.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo said, “I’m very proud to officially dedicate the new Davis Street School, the 34th school built or rehabilitated under the district’s visionary school building program.
“Davis Street School is a model for the district and our School Change reforms. Its outstanding teachers, dedicated administrators, caring parents and hard-working students all have a passion for academic excellence and innovation. I am sure that this new building will help Davis Street School take School Change and academic achievement to the next level.
“I want to thank the Board of Aldermen, the Board of Education and especially Mayor DeStefano for their vision and unwavering support for our school construction program. I salute the builders, architects, contractors and workers who turned that vision into this beautiful new school,” Dr. Mayo said. 
Davis Street School Principal Lola Nathan said, “I am excited to officially dedicate the new Davis Street School. Students, staff and parents love their new school and are humbled to have such a wonderful facility. I am sure that Davis Street School will soar to even greater heights in this magnificent new building.  The old Davis Street School educated children for nearly 100 years. I expect this school to equal or exceed that record.
“I give my thanks to Mayor DeStefano, Dr. Mayo, the Board of Education and the Board of Aldermen for providing the new Davis Street School.”
The new Davis Street School has a computer lab, a science lab, a library, music rooms and a performance space, an art room, an art display area, a gym and a cafeteria. The school’s 72,000 square feet include 21 classrooms on three floors.
The old Davis Street School, originally built in 1918, was demolished in 2009 to make way for the new school on the same site. Builders saved the school’s original 1918 cornerstone and masonry sign and incorporated them into the atrium of the new school.
Davis Street School spent two years in the former Vincent Mauro School on Orchard Street before moving into the new facility last April.
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. The city has so far 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 the city.
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.