While Guilford students have been able to admire their new high school since the start of classes on Sept. 8, other members of the community who had taken part in the nearly 10 year planning and construction process had their chance to celebrate on Sept. 26 to officially open the new Guilford High School with a ribbon cutting.
The event featured short speeches, a performance by the Guilford High School Voices, and an open house of the building following the ribbon cutting. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Freeman chaired the event.
“We want to take a few moments and recognize the efforts that have gone into this building,” he said. “This community made this building a reality, and for generations to come this building will now contribute to shaping the young men and women of this community.”
Board of Education Chair William Bloss thanked the many people involved in the project from the state representatives to the architect and contractors to the local volunteers.
“This is a day that is exciting not only because of what our community has done, but also what our community has yet to do and will do,” he said. “We came together as one community with one goal: To offer the best education possible for our children.”
Bloss thanked members of the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen for their support of this project.
“The decision to move forward with this project was not an easy one for either board, we know that. Many alternatives were presented and it might have been easy in the short term to do nothing, leave it to somebody else,” he said. “But notably [First Selectman Joseph] Mazza showed courage in looking at the alternatives, being open with the community, being honest with the community, and telling us the truth about what was needed and what it was going to take.”
Bloss said the community should be very proud of the building and be confident that it will provide an excellent learning environment for years to come.
“Guilford is proud of her past, that is true, but we are going to be defined not by our past but by our future,” he said. “This building reflects how our community values our schools. It shows that our town has confidence in our students and our faculty. This building, this school, will see the best teaching, the best learning for your children, your grandchildren and your children and grandchildren who are yet to be.”
Mazza praised the impressive facility.
“We have an excellent education system that just keeps getting better and better every year and now we have this building and this is fantastic,” he said. “The building that we have come here to celebrate today is the result of the financial commitment made by the taxpayers of Guilford and the hard work by the countless number of volunteers and staff.”
Mazza pointed out the many innovative features of the building, including its size, security, and its energy efficiency.
“This is a house of learning that we can all be proud of,” he said.
The Guilford High School Building Committee was heavily thanked throughout the event. Building Committee Chair Scott Pinckney commented on the process and the original motivation behind the project.
“There was a report in 2010 that said if Guilford high school is to meet its mission, the physical shortcomings of the facility must be addressed,” he said. “And it never occurred to me how much the students were embarrassed of their school. They didn’t like it. They didn’t want to host events here and it makes them proud now to come here.”
Principle Rick Misenti said he was excited to show the building to the public.
“Spectacular!” he said. “That is what I want to say about this school. It is incredible. It is 21st century. The teachers love it, the kids love it, and I am really here to say on behalf of the faculty staff and students, we welcome you to our beautiful high school.”