Back in 2017, Farmington voters rejected building a new high school 2-1. On Thursday, Farmington voters cast their ballots again but this time approved building a new high school 2-1.
“When we looked at our students and the quality of education here in Farmington, it’s so important that we have a facility that matches that,” said Farmington High School Building Committee Chair Meghan Guerrera.
With 4,500 yes votes to 2,195 no votes, on Thursday Farmington voters overwhelmingly approved building a brand new high school. It’s a referendum that’s held a lot of interest. Throughout the day, the line to cast a ballot at the library, which was one of the polling places, extended outside.
“It’s an important decision for Farmington,” said voter Digaunto Chatterjee.
The state will reimburse $26.3 million of the $135.6 million project, but the rest is on the Farmington taxpayers. That’s why some people we spoke to say they voted no.
“I do want Farmington to do well. It’s good for our property resale values and stuff, but I’m not really convinced that the expansion is needed just yet,” said Chatterjee.
“We need to save some money, and I don’t think it’s a good time to be building, especially since the cost is so high,” said voter Denise Atkinson.
Those we spoke to who supported building a new school say it’ll be a short-term tax hike with long-term benefits.
“The current high school is in bad condition, and I think it’s not right for the kids who are going to that high school under that condition,” said voter Baihai Wang.
“No brainer. I have three kids in school, but even before that, the school building is old. It needs to be updated,” said voter Geoffrey Manton.
Town officials say with the current building there are safety concerns, ADA compliance issues, and a lack of space. Whether time or conditions changed voters minds from 2017 to 2021, students will soon see a new school rise near the old one.
Construction for the new school starts next summer and will be completed in the fall of 2024. Most of the old school will then be demolished, but the wing built in 2003 will remain standing. There’s also been no decision made on the 1928 building, which is the building many drivers see on Route 4.