Dozens protest proposal to move E.O. Smith from downtown - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Dozens protest proposal to move E.O. Smith from downtown

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
STORRS, CT (WFSB) -

Members of the Storrs, Mansfield, Ashford and Willington area held a rally Tuesday night in hopes of keeping E.O. Smith High School downtown. 

The group said it formed in response to the Regional School District 19 Board of Education's potential plans to move E.O. Smith High School to the Depot Campus area without proper time, transparency, or input from the community.

The plan would build a new high school.

"We want to slow down this process," said Kelly Bourquin, who organized the rally.

On Tuesday night, dozens of students and their parents dressed in red while protesting the proposal to move the school.

"We felt really surprised by this whole proposal coming up," Bourquin said. "It's a unique location. Students can literally walk to take UConn classes here. After school they can go eat at a restaurant."

"I really like the location in general because we have the downtown right next door with all of the different shops which usually helps the kids stay out of trouble," said student Mia Jordan.

The old high school was built in 1958 and hasn't been renovated since 2002. Some school leaders believe extensive renovations are needed.

UConn's student newspaper, The Daily Campus, reported that renovations could cost as much as $13 million and a new high school, $36 million.

The project is part of a possible transaction between the high school and the University of Connecticut for use of college classes, athletic events and recreation. 

"We have our athletic fields in various locations. There's 21 acres here. It's very compacted. That site offered 100 acres. We could build a brand new high school on it. All of our athletic fields would be on it," said Superintendent of Schools Bruce Silva.

On Tuesday night, the school board told parents they will hold off on making any decisions until the community has a chance to weigh in.

"It may materialize into a new high school or it may materialize into changes into this high school," Silva said.

The superintendent said he believes the board will take up the issue in the fall when more parents can answer more questions.

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