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Julia Perkins | June 25, 2021 - Updated: June 25, 2021 6 a.m.
Here's what will be inside Danbury's $99 million career academy
Preliminary renderings of the Danbury Career Academy for middle and high school students at the Summit.
DANBURY — The $99 million career academy is expected to include various labs, a rooftop greenhouse, a gym with bleachers for 400 and dozens of classrooms.
At its first in-person meeting since March 2020, the school board this week approved design and educational plans for the new school that will serve 1,400 middle and high school students.
These so-called education specifications are a key part of the city’s application to the state for a grant that would cover 80 percent of the project’s cost. The final deadline for the application is Oct. 1, but the state asked for a draft by Sept. 1.
Antonio Iadarola, the city’s engineer and public works director, said selective demolition could start on the space at the beginning of 2022. The city has hired an architect for the project.
“Everything is moving very, very well,” he told the school board before members unanimously approved the document to applause.
The school is expected to open in the 2023-24 school year and is planned to be built within three wings of the Summit development, a 1.2 million-square-foot building on the city’s west side.
The document details the need for the project, saying enrollment has increased 17 percent over 10 years and that an additional 10 percent growth is anticipated over the next 10 years. The school is expected to serve 1,040 high-school students and 360 middle school students.
Plans call for labs, a cafeteria, administrative area, nurse suite, five special education classrooms, media research center, and physical education area with a gym, locker rooms, fitness room and other features.
Students may present projects in a choral and instrumental area that can also be used for robotics testing because it’s close to the engineering room, according to the plans. The training area for students looking to become emergency medical technicians will have large doors for full-size ambulance access.
Danbury is reworking its curriculum for high-schoolers, with plans for students to study career fields within six academies.
Students in the Academy of Scientific Innovation and Medicine, as well as the Academy of Enterprise and Economics, will attend the career academy.
Within the scientific innovation academy, students will pursue biomedical science, sports and human performance, therapeutic health services, medical technology and engineering, and environmental and renewable energy.
The enterprise academy includes management and leadership, investment and finance, business and entrepreneurship, and global supply chain and logistics.
The district plans to “rival” the academies at a similar school in Nashville, which Danbury has based its plans on, the document states. The White House has recognized the Nashville academies as a “national high school transformation model,” according to its website.
The middle school will offer an Academy of Design and Innovation that will “drive inquiry-based learning across all middle grades through the design thinking process,” the district writes. Design labs will be built and are meant to prepare students for high school.
School officials are working with the local business community to develop the academies and expect students will be able to learn from businesses in the Summit, such as Nuvance Health.
“With the five-year plan to further develop more academies and dozens of corporate and area business partnerships, the city stands to gain a valuable return on investment by creating a cadre of in demand skilled professionals who are more likely to remain the greater Danbury area to live, work and contribute to the community,” the district writes.