MERIDEN — Hundreds of alumni, students, school staff and city and state officials crowded into the lofty main hallway of the newly renovated Maloney High School for a ceremony Monday night celebrating the school’s dramatic transformation. Officials boasted that the $107.5 million project, years in the making, finished on schedule and under budget.
“You didn’t just pull it off, you pulled it off with perfection,” said School Superintendent Mark Benigni. “(The students) deserve the best and Meriden, you have given them the best. The new Francis T. Maloney High School is a great community asset and something Meriden should be proud of.”
Principal Jennifer Straub reflected on the challenge of continuing to hold classes amid construction.
“It got crazy sometimes,” Straub said. “But a beautiful outcome.”
Mayor Kevin Scarpati called the event “truly a historic day in Meriden,” noting he had been involved in the project since his time serving on the Board of Education in 2010.
“It’s truly been an astonishing thing to see it from the beginning stages to what it is today ... I know we said goodbye to the famed tree out front, but today we say hello to a new beginning,” Scarpati said, referring to the large tree on the school’s front lawn that was taken down last year.
State elected officials — Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello Jr., Rep. Catherine Abercrombie and Rep. Hilda Santiago — attended the event and praised the city officials and school staff for their work on the project. Several speakers also thanked former House Speaker Chris Donovan for his support of the project during his political career.
The Maloney Class of 2017 co-presidents, Jake DeFrancesco and Ciara Herget, never could have imagined that four years after entering the double doors as freshman, they would witness the completion of construction. Let alone that they’d wield the oversized scissors at the school’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“It was the weirdest thing in the beginning of our junior year,” de Fransesca said. “There’s hallways that one day you’re walking and it just wouldn’t be there.”
Herget was a big fan of the new library.
“I love it. It’s so bright and open,” Herget said. “It’s an academic environment now.”
The Maloney project will not be officially done for a few months, pending the completion of several “punch list” items.
Across the city, work continues on the $111.8 million renovation of Platt High School, which is expected to finish next year.
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