By John Murray

  A much beloved and highly controversial $40 million Duggan School renovation project is now complete in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Waterbury, and local dignitaries were on-hand August 22 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The project came in a year late and four million over budget, largely due to miscalculations about the structural integrity of the original school building, which was an essential part of the renovation plan.

   Some of the renovation highlights, as listed on the Macchi Engineers website is

   Overall the project involves the construction of a new Pre K–8 grade school. Macchi Engineers is responsible for the structural design services for major renovations and additions to an existing Historic elementary school with a 90 ft clock tower. The construction includes a new 44,000 SF addition with a total work area of 76,000 SF. Due to the Historic nature of the building the work includes saving the entire façade of an existing load-bearing masonry wall of the school building and the construction of new steel framed floors and roof.

Pat Hayes and Mary White of the Waterbury Board of Education were delighted the project is completed and the school now open for business.

Superintendent of Schools David Snead made some gracious remarks and then said now that he is leaving Waterbury in December he can freely speak his mind. Snead said he’d like to see all public high schools in Waterbury be magnet schools. There was a small groan from the gathering of more than 200 people in attendance of the ribbon cutting after his comment.

Former Duggan School Principal Mary Ann Daukas removed a sign from the school 16 years ago when it closed. At the ribbon cutting ceremony she presented the sign, which was stored in her garage for 16 years, to the new principal, Patricia Frageau.

Board of Education commissioners Pat Hayes and Mary White snip the ribbon with an oversized pair of scizzors as from left to right, John Rowland, Jeff Berger, Mike Jarjura, Larry Butler and Patricia Frageau look on.

A sparkling new gym with ambient light streaming in through giant windows.

Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura and Waterbury Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Paul Guidone stroll the brightly lit hallways of the newly opened Duggan School.