Newly-renovated NHS on display

From left, Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke, state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), Board of Education Chair Dorothy Neth-Kunin and state Rep. David Labriola (R-131) discuss renovations made to Naugatuck High School Nov. 25 during an open house at the newly-renovated school. –LUKE MARSHALL

From left, Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke, state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), Board of Education Chair Dorothy Neth-Kunin and state Rep. David Labriola (R-131) discuss renovations made to Naugatuck High School Nov. 25 during an open house at the newly-renovated school. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School graduates from across the decades popped back into their old stomping last week to get an up-close look at the newly-renovated NHS.

“It’s a lot more appealing than when it was when I came here. I’m very excited to see the quality of the work that was done and the way it blends into the 21st century,” said Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess, who graduated from the high school in 1966.

The school hosted an open house Nov. 25 for the public and alumni to view the work completed as part of the $81 million renovate-to-new project. The project, which began in April 2013, is nearly complete and expected to wrap up this year.

Board of Education Chair Dorothy Neth-Kunin called the renovated school an “asset to the community.”

The project brought state-of-the-art technology into the entire high school, such as Smart Boards.   A world languages lab has 30 desktops with computers and each computer is equipped with a program called Sony Virtuoso, which allows teachers to listen to students who are practicing their languages using microphones and headsets, and give immediate feedback.

Karen Streeter, a member of the NHS Class of 1964, said she was ahead of the curve in technology when she was a student at Naugatuck High, and was glad to see the renovation project embraced technology.

“I think it’s great for the kids. I think all the newness and the technology will help the kids to become better students and more focused,” Streeter said.

People attending the open house were allowed to walk around the school, look in classrooms, and ask questions of the current students posted throughout the school.

Stefanie Cagno and Dawn Masterson, both members of the Class of 2010, were impressed with the work that had taken place since they graduated.

“It looks really nice. I think it’s going to be good for keeping students focused on their education. Before it was kind of rundown and people didn’t care. I think it’s going to be a good morale booster,” Cagno said.

Masterson was especially pleased to see the work done on the auditorium.

The seats and lighting were replaced throughout the auditorium. Wood paneling was added to the walls and ceiling, and two small balconies of seats were created, one on either side of the stage.

Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam said the auditorium upgrades make it look more like a professional community theater rather than a high school auditorium.

“It’s good to see the arts getting some renovations,” Masterson said.

Hess said the project is a source of pride for students and graduates alike.

“I like everything about the project. I think it is very exciting. I think it will be well received by all the graduates and the future students are going to have a great facility to carry them through their time here at the high school,” Hess said.