On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 27, New Fairfield’s top school administrators hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Consolidated Early Learning Academy (CELA). The event gave the school, town, and state officials an opportunity to thank everyone involved and celebrate the massive amount of work that led up to construction.
Tents were placed against the construction barrier with a view of the leveled area that was previously the Meeting House Hill School playground. The bulldozers and concrete trucks crisscrossing behind the speakers were a pointed reminder that CELA is “well on its way to becoming a reality,” as Director of Finance and Operations Dr. Richard Sanzo said. Spearheading the school’s team on all aspects of the buildings, Sanzo reflected on the multiple years that he has been involved in the projects, including the many difficulties that arose in light of the wildly altered world during the pandemic.
Superintendent Dr. Pat Cosentino and Sanzo both thanked New Fairfield’s town Boards of Education (BOE), Finance, and Selectmen, as the members have all been very involved in the process. And heaps of praise were given to the members of the town’s Permanent Building Committee (PBC)—who have overseen every step of the planning. All speakers also effusively thanked the community for supporting the buildings, including First Selectman Ms. Pat Del Monaco, and BOE Chair Ms. Peggy Katkocin expressed appreciation for people “investing in the future of our children.”
PBC Chair Mr. George Martignetti said that the committee is happy to be delivering buildings that the community can feel proud about. He admitted of the nearly two-year process that “Our meetings are not fun, but we stay the course.” State Representative Mr. Ken Gucker, who has thrown his support behind the two new schools since the ideas for them originated, said “This has been a long time coming.”
A golden shovel was given to each speaker for ceremonial photographs of them scooping shovelfuls of dirt. Representatives from each town board and groups of school administrators also took photos to commemorate the event.
By Sarah Opdahl