NEW BRITAIN - Teachers and staff of Smalley Elementary School got their first glimpse of their school’s $50 million renovation during a walkthrough Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s incredible, I’m excited and I know the students are excited,” said interim Principal Andrea Foligno. “The kids will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation of the building.”
The school is being renovated to accommodate 750 students and has expanded from 82,000 square feet to 104,000 square feet.
“The school district did a great job picking bright paint colors that make it feel like a positive learning environment,” Foligno added. “It’s a nice, bright space.”
“The whole school is bright and colorful,” agreed fifth-grade teacher Kristen Holmes.
“It will also be nice to have a normal size classroom,” she added. “The room I’m in at Pope John Paul is very small.”
When the original Smalley School could no longer accommodate all of its students, some classrooms were moved to the former Pope John Paul II School.
“I’m looking forward to having a consistent air conditioner,” said first-grade teacher Chelcey Williams. “The last one was very unreliable.”
The school district’s assistant chief talent officer, Nicole Sanders, said she was impressed by what she saw.
“I’m excited about the large classroom sizes,” said Sanders. “I can’t wait to see it come together in its final form.”
“It’s wonderful the state is investing in New Britain,” said special education Tteacher Theresa Gouveia, the city’s Teacher of the Year. “Our students are some of the neediest and sometimes we feel they are forgotten. If we can invigorate the neighborhood with a new school, then we can help our students succeed and achieve their dreams.”
In 2018, the state provided $42 million for the project. The city borrowed the remaining 20%.
Construction is on schedule for completion in early August.
Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.