Despite flood risk, Bridgeport breaks ground on new high school in city's South End
State and city leaders broke ground on Bridgeport’s new Bassick High School Monday. The plan for the new school has drawn criticism because it will be built in a zone designated as "high risk" for flooding, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Neighborhood groups and environmentalists expressed concern about the flood risk. But Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said the architectural design of the new school includes an elevated first floor, which would be raised above street level. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), says the school's first floor will be two feet above the 500-year base flood event.
“Bridgeport got the largest unmatched federal grant we ever received. $50 million for resiliency which will address this entire South End area, including this site. The improvements on raising the site is a smart move and a necessary move,” Ganim said.
The new $129 million school will be located in the South End, on the University of Bridgeport campus, overlooking Seaside Park.
It will house the Bridgeport Military Academy (BMA), 48 classrooms, a new trade program, and Bassick’s first sports facility. Ganim said the school is expected to open at the beginning of the 2025-2026 school year.
The start of this construction project is important for Bassick students, according to Bobbi Brown, vice chair of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
“This particular project has opened the eyes of a lot of students at Bassick and BMA," Brown said. "Students have to feel that their building is really theirs. Every school has its own identity and it's really amazing to see our students have a place that reflects them."
“I’m excited to see our students have a home,” Brown said.
This story has been updated.