TORRINGTON, CT (WFSB) -- Voters in Torrington will soon decide the future of education.
On the November ballot, a referendum question will ask voters about building a new high school, with the price tag of $159 million.
It’s a lot of money, but officials say it’s less expensive than fixing what they have.
From the outside, Torrington High School looks like many Connecticut schools, but the older building has many problems.
“The ceiling is starting to fall in. So I think that building has given us 60-plus years of really great service, but it can’t meet the needs or the function of our everyday lives,” said Torrington Superintendent of Schools Susan Lubomski.
The windows are not heat or energy efficient, there’s no insulation, there have been leaks and flooding, and the entire plumbing system needs to be replaced.
“We were all saying we are going to renovate, what’s the big deal,” Lubomski explained.
But they were surprised to learn renovating would cost more than building something new.
The cost of renovation was $112 million, and the only money Torrington would get from the state would be for handicap accessibility and safety measures.
Building a new school will cost $159 million, and the building will include grades 7 and 8, plus the administrative offices, and the state will cover 62.5 percent.
The superintendent and the Board of Education are located at what used to be an old high school.
While the current high school isn’t nearly as old, they have spent money trying to fix it.
“There was a partial renovation attempted of this building in the 1990’s, it was cut back so much that the major mechanical items were not addressed,” said Fiona Cappabianca, chairperson of the Board of Education.
A new school will cost the town $74 million, which will be spread out over 30 years and will cost taxpayers about $0.50 a day, Cappabianca said.
If voters say yes, a new school would be built on the existing athletic fields and could be built within two years.