[UPDATED] What Should the Town Do With the Old East Haven High School?

Educational or community use, or sell it to a private developer for condos — what is the best future use of the town-owned property?

Updated at 4 p.m. on Friday

The Mayor's Office has released a detailed summary of all three proposals for the old East Haven High School, which will be up for consideration by the town's voters as a referendum item on next month's Election Day ballot.

The summary can be found here.

Original Story

The old East Haven High School sits and waits. The building, at 200 Tyler Street, has been vacant since the school shut its doors in 1997.

The only life that remains inside the 1936 structure, which sits on a prime 8-acre parcel in the center of East Haven, is the and the community pool.

In hopes of reviving the 8-acre property, East Haven Mayor April Capone formed a in hopes its members would develop recommendations for the best future use of the town-owned property.

Unable to narrow it down to just one choice — community use, educational use or sell the property to condominimum developers — town officials decided to through a referendum on the Nov. 8 municipal election ballot.

The Town Council approved that referendum's final language at its regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 6 (see meeting minutes in the gallery at the right that accompanies this article).

Through the referendum, voters are given three choices of directing town officials of how to move forward in determining the vacant building's future:

1. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be rehabilitated at a cost to the Town and used for educational purposes?

2. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be rehabilitated at a cost to the Town and used for community purposes?

3. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be sold by the Town for condominium use?

A proposed deal in 2006 to sell the parcel to private developers that wanted to build senior housing was quickly squashed after public opinion at that time came out strongly against it.

And other proposasl to turn the building into a town government center with municipal offices could prove to have a heavy price tag for the town as far as renovation and construction costs.

Although voters will have their official say next month, East Haven Patch is taking a preliminary look at what residents think is the best future use for the vacant building.

Cast your vote in the poll and/or leave your suggestion in the comments section below.

And Patch will be sure to let you know the vote's final results in an updated article later this week.

Rosie October 13, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Gene, I think this is absolutely the best plan for that space. It would alleviate a lot of problems with overcrowding, keep to property belonging to the town, and have a central location for education. I would definately keep the other school buildings, and perhaps use one for BOE offices, similar to Branford, and perhaps use one for a community center. It's a win, win all around. This is definately my vote.
Gene Ruocco October 13, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Rosie, this is a day to remember, you agree with me on something. Thank you, it is a win, win for East Haven.
clint October 13, 2011 at 09:08 PM
thank god for november bye bye dems bye bye
Sharon Dixon October 14, 2011 at 01:50 AM
I would like to see a centralized recreation center for our town. Currently, activities are spread out all over the place. This building might be a good place to create one. Pool , auditorium and gym are already available. If we can't afford to renovate in a way that benefits a large part of the population, it would make sense to sell it to a commercail enterprise that would add to the grand list.
Sillyme October 14, 2011 at 02:02 AM
“swing space when JMMS is renovated” “ the academy going back to JMMS” “JMMS being a K to 4, along with Deer Run and Momauquin” “Old High School would be a 5 To 8.” “would alleviate a lot of problems with overcrowding” “definitely keep the other school buildings” So let me see, You all think it is a good idea to uproot teachers and students on an annual basis so that we can resolve the issues caused by poor planning. Doesn’t sound like a SOLID FOUNTATION to me. Admit that the reorganization isn’t working, Utilize the space occupied by ACES (40 or so students) and integrate the Academy back into their districts and be done with it. And this is the best one “The big thing here is to get the reimbursement money, and that only comes when the building is used as a school” What part of the days of funny money are gone do you not understand.
Ann Della Camera October 14, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Gene, after reading a mother's letter in this weeks East Haven Paper I was horrified. JMMS sound to me more like the script from the movie "Blackboard Jungle" there is a serious problem there. Instead of all this what to do with the High School, how about straightening out the existing problems in JMMS. Where are the princibles, teachers with gumption, are they afraid to come out and see that children behave properly. If I was that child ,, I would dread just getting up in the morning to go to school. People ask?? Why so many teen sucides, perhaps all this unruly pressure has a lot to do with it. I hope this letter gets read by many and please read this mother's letter in the East Haven paper, maybe one of your children are living this nightmare also
Rosie October 14, 2011 at 01:12 PM
I would rather "uproot" the students, then have them get a lesser education due to overcrowding. I have students, too, and they are suffering because there is NOT enough room. Do you really want your child being taught in a hallway, on a stage with several other classes, in a nook near an exit door? That is what is happening now. And it's not Rocket Science...it would alleviate overcrowding. The Academy does not need to integrate with the other schools, that would just create more overcrowding. We need to keep the buildings, renovate that building and put it to good use. We NEED school space in this town.
Rosie October 14, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Where is the pricipal? Always out "sick". That school is out of control, because no one there really cares about anything but sitting around collecting a paycheck. That school, if you could call it that, is the biggest joke around.
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Ann I read that letter and it was a shocker and gives some insight to why the mother who was arrested for attempting to protect her child took the action she did. After reading Matt's comments, I'm thinking I would have done the same thing.
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 02:19 PM
It sounds like there are quite a few parents who feel something needs to be done. Band together and put a parent "guardian angle" team together to walk the halls. If the School can't get it done a group of like minded parents can.
Nitty October 14, 2011 at 02:22 PM
I am a life long resident of East Haven, one time in my life I was proud to say I was from East Haven. Our town and the people running it is nothing more than a joke. The board of education and Serio should walk through this town with their heads down. I don't understand the residents of East Haven, if you want change you have to demand change. where are all the parents at the board of education meetings?O wait tell parents they no longer can send in cupcakes or some football players get thrown off the fb team due to underage drinking the residents of EH came out in groups for this but not for their childrens education? our schools are falling apart, and instead of giving raises they should be up- dating our childrens school books maby every student can get her's or his's own book . I do believe better surrondings do play a part in a better education.So I say rebuild I rather pay more in taxes to make sure my children are getting 100% the education they deserve. As for the We need more Senior buildings, LOL you rather have the town sell the building (which with in a year the money will be spent or missing)than put it toward a better education for our children?I do believe better surrondings do play a part in a better education. As for the bulling in JMS, It's starts at home! The parents should start being held accountable for their childs actions..Believe me with some of these kids the apple don't fall far from the tree. So Gene i'm with you on this one..
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Condition of education Once upon a time children went to the schools closest to their home, built relationships with their neighbor classmates that would last for years. Many life long friendships were born this way. I have attended a few of the BOE meetings, very ineffective. The amount we spend in education currently is on par with our surrounding towns, save New Haven. Why we would not have up to date educational material, and by that I mean 21st century educational tools, is beyond me. Any attempt by me to obtain meaningful accounting of expenditures from the BOE has been politely acknowledged and forgotten. Find out how much is spent and ON WHAT then make the changes necessary to have the best education we can.
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Once upon a time children went to the schools closest to their home, built relationships with their neighbor classmates that would last for years. Many lifelong friendships were born this way. As we move to a more centralized educational society, we will continue to lose the benefits of community. I really like K8, and realize that the current schools in their current state cannot physically support K8. It would require funding to update them. Wonder what the cost would be, has anyone ever looked into the cost of updating current schools. Seems it should be part of the long term maintance plan. You know I think it is called CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Michelle Petroccio October 14, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Hi all, I'd just like to say that it is a shame that kids get bullied, but it happens everywhere, not just at JMMS. I have a son who is in his third year at EHHS, and made it through there just fine, even with a horrible bullyinh incident, which was handled appropriately by Mr. Prato & Ms. Savo. This year I have three kids at JMMS, one in each grade. They are all doing well, and there are no 'issues'. The things that happen in middle schools happen everywhere, and it is not the school that is at fault, or its administrators, the behavior comes from home, and how the kids are raised. The parents of the bullies need to be looked at. In my years as a parent of students at JMMS, I have always found the faculty and administrators more than approachable, and feel they are very aware of what goes on. As far as the mom and daughter incident from last year, it was isolated. The daughter of that woman was actually the child doing the bullying, and the other girl got fed up with it. Obviously, the mother is a bully, and teaches her daughter through her behavior that it's okay to be mean and lie.That woman actually spat in another child's face that day, and told him to go home and tell his mother, who she knew was dead! One of my kids heard and saw the entire lunatic thing happen! Don't always believe what you read in a letter to the editor of any publication! Any way, wasn't this article about what to do with the old high school????
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Michelle The forum is taking a turn form what to do with a building to How to improve the educational conditions. Sounds like something that is needed, and you as a journalist have a golden opportunity to explore the idea. Soooo, why not get it going. Who knows some real improvements may come out of it. The forum is taking a turn form what to do with a building to How to improve the educational conditions. Sounds like something that is needed, and you as a journalist have a golden opportunity to explore the idea. Soooo, why not get it going. As to your comments on the incident last year, I did not follow it past the initial new story. To put details that you do not know firsthand in a public forum is cause for concern. Under what circumstances does the Bully need defending?
Robin Meeblind October 14, 2011 at 05:14 PM
The EH courier?
Julie Weisberg (Editor) October 14, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Donna and Michelle: Although this story is about how best to use the old high school, I think that that is a good idea — provide a forum to allow the community to have a respectful and free-flowing discussion about how best to enhance and improve the East Haven educational system. And so, keep posted. I'll be sure to have something up to that end soon. The community — whether online here on East Haven Patch or just the greater community in general — is full of good ideas. I think you're right: we just need to provide that platform for a discussion. Thanks again!
Julie Weisberg (Editor) October 14, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Hey, Everyone. The Mayor's Office has released a summary that includes more a bit more detailed informaton for each of the three proposals that will be considered via the referendum on Election Day. Here is the link: http://patch.com/N-c9xn.
clint October 14, 2011 at 09:12 PM
buye bye dems out in november the circus bus leaves town with all the goonies and the queen
DonnaR October 14, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Julie, I am still concerned that there will be much confusion come November on this issue. The town web site lists Proposal #1 as Community use with,” A Variety of community purposes with the “wings and upper floor space (excess areas) for private/professional use”. And PROPOSAL#2 as a SALE FOR CONDOS. Now those folks who don’t do PATCH may be confused. Check it out http://www.townofeasthavenct.org/purchase.shtml All of the proposals carry the following statement: (cut and paste from town site) The East Haven Plan of Conservation and Development states the following regarding redevelopment of the Old High School on the parcel: * "The Town should upgrade and use a portion of the former high school as a community center that should include a range of community-oriented uses. The remainder of the school may be appropriate for private development. * The swimming pool at the old high school should be renovated, or a new swimming pool be constructed for use by town residents" Without clarity the entire process may be in jeopardy.
Ann Della Camera October 15, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Matt, I think any parent that has a child in that school should take a day, go there and see what actually happens. Children who want to learn should not b subject to that kind of atmosphere. I have no children in the system, but I feel bad for the kids that ae having such a bad time. So come on Mom or Dad, take a day off go see what your child sees
Michelle Petroccio October 15, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Hi Donna, I wish I could sieze this opportunity, but unfortunately, Patch has had some changes lately, and my opinion column, 'Momma' is no longer an option. Frelance writers like myself, are doing less and less because of the structure, and I really like to focus on the positives, and the things that the kids achieve, as in The Whiz Kids, and activities and field trips that correspond to the schools, the Teen Center, and all the possibilities that EH youth has.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) October 15, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Donna: I do plan on putting together and posting a review or primer of next month's Election Day ballot. I will scan it and post it online, and walk the voter through the ballot. This is where municipal election officials and the town clerk are a great help. And I know sometimes the local chapters of the League of Women Voters puts out voter guides as well. I'll have to check in with them. Either way, over the next few weeks, I'll have election-related stories. And hopefully, this will help.
Richard Poulton October 15, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Thanks Julie. Every bit of news in an election like the one coming up is important to get out. But, FYI, you just know what will happen as to the comments, when you do post them. Page will explode.
Sam Giglio October 15, 2011 at 07:07 PM
I was on the Committee that was in favor of working with the BOI, the Town and the Residents to restore this Building for educational use. This is a 3-10 year plan and when completed most of us involved with this project will not be involved with the end results. This will save the Tax payers money on maintaining all the school Building we have now, Of all the Shore line Towns East Haven spends the most to run our School Buildings year after year. The Building at 200 Tyler St can meet the standerds of the Educational system once it is renovated as the new and improved Middle School / East Haven Academy. It would not impact the neihborhood as when it was a High School. The Children in this age group do not drive yet. When this plan A is completed then we can renovate the Joseph Melillo Middle School/Carbone School under plan B and make this a new Elementary Campus Then under Plan C the BOI can look at the other Schools in Town and close or rediret the use of the Building's. The Best Building after this is all completed for Town wide use is the Tuttle Elementary School, This would make a great Community Center, Maybe some Town offices, and many other uses. The other two big projects under plan A and B would be eligible for Connecticut State Grant Rembursement/ or even some Fed Grant for Green Energy. IT IS A PLAN, and if we want to make our Town better in the future, then we need to think out of the box,
FCF October 15, 2011 at 08:29 PM
If you are concerned about where the money is being spent in the school system there is a BOE Finance subcommittee meeting on this Monday 10/17 at 6pm. Here is the link to the agendas page http://www.townofeasthavenct.org/pdf/agendas/. People may want to show up for this one.
FCF October 15, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Correct link for BOE meeting agenda http://www.townofeasthavenct.org/agendas.shtml
DonnaR October 15, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Michelle sorry to hear that your very upbeat column will no longer be posted in the Patch. Their loss. Since you target the young folks of East Haven, perhaps the BOE could find some space on their site. Very extensive and updated regularly.
FCF October 16, 2011 at 11:34 AM
For more info on our failing schools see http://easthavenpolitics.blogspot.com/ September posts with videos.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) October 16, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Good afternoon, Everyone. Just a gentle reminder to keep comments focused on the topic at hand in the article. Thank you for your cooperation. It is, as always, appreciated!


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