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| OCT 15, 2013 5:23 PM
Common Ground HighSchool took a $10 millionstep forward Tuesday—while vowing to maintainits sense of family. Around 70 people—over half of them CommonGround High Schoolstudents—gathered near the school’s organicgarden for agroundbreaking on a new$10.2 million, 13,000-square-foot solar-heatedand geothermal-cooledbuilding complete withnew science labs,performance space, andart classrooms.Common Ground is home to the nation’s oldest environmental charter high school, an environmentalcenter, and an urban farm that contributes over 35,000 servings of healthful, fresh food to the NewHaven community.The state government, the city and private donors have contributed $9.6 million to the renovationproject; Common Ground is still short $600,000. The organization launched a community campaign toraise the remaining money for its new school building and other related improvements on its 20-acresite at the base of West Rock.The expansion would allow the student body to grow from 180 to 225 students. Speakers atTuesday’s event expressed their determination to retain the school’s intimate feeling as it grows.“We’re not just a school here—we’re a family. The atmosphere wasn’t developed easily. I think such asmall population has [had] the biggest role in making this school so family-based,” said Mettao Feliz,a Common Ground High School junior. “It’s not going to be easy for the students or the teachers to gothrough this change, but it’s good for everybody and it’s healthy for everybody involved in this, so it’simportant for this to happen.”The project will help expand community programs to reach 12,000 children and adults per year andhelp double the production of Common Ground’s urban farm.“Change means we’reaccepting everything we’re
Common Ground Broken
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Posted to: Environment, Schools, West Rock
KENDRA BAKER PHOTO
Mitchell (at left), state Rep. Toni Walker (third from left), and Commissioner Pryor joined in the honoraryshoveling.
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