Plans call for high school campus in borough
NAUGATUCK — A New York university is interested in building a private high school on a 56-acre parcel on May Street.
Yeshivas Ohr HaChaim, a Waterbury-based Jewish community, submitted plans and an application to the borough last week. The plans call for a school, dormitories, faculty housing, and 86 housing units to be built at 874 May St.
The school will be associated with the New York City-based Touro College and University System.
Rabbi Moshe Krupka, who serves as Touro College and University System’s executive vice president, said the school will offer traditional Judaic studies as well as general studies to prepare its students for higher education and future careers.
Krupka said Touro chose Naugatuck because there was a call for the school in the area. He said an affiliate of the college met with the Jewish communal leaders of Waterbury. The leaders asked that a high school be built to service their youth, he said.
The fact that Naugatuck was close to Waterbury and the school considered it to be a beautiful location made “the environment conducive for us to create a self-contained academic community,” Krupka said
According to the plans, the land will be split into two sections. The first section is approximately 7 acres that includes the school, dorms, faculty housing and a gym. The other 49 acres contain the rest of the houses and three small parks.
According to Krupka, the housing will be for those interested in living in an academic setting.
“Many of our alumni have expressed interest in living in an academic community that would include among its residents, current students, post-graduate fellows and faculty. We view the proposed housing as a long-range plan to create an exceptional community that will promote scholarship and service,” Krupka said.
The project drew praise from local officials.
“I think it is an honor that a major international university would be interested in locating in Naugatuck and providing a specialized learning environment for students who want to attend a specialized high school,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.
While the proposed school property would be tax exempt, the portion of the property with the housing would add to the grand list, Hess said. He added the planned roads leading to the school and the housing would be private roads. This means the school would be responsible for plowing, road maintenance, and trash collection.
“This is one of those win-win situations where we have the land, we have the wherewithal to get it done, and having an international university come to Naugatuck is really good for the town,” Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese said. “It’s going to be a great project and I am really happy they have decided to come here.”
Representatives from the college made a small presentation to the Inland Wetlands Commission on Oct. 5 and turned in the application, Town Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Sue Goggin said. The commission scheduled a public hearing on the plan for next month.
Goggin said once the plans make it through the Inland Wetlands Commission, Touro will have to submit an application and go before the planning and zoning commissions. Both of the commissions will hold public hearings on the application, she said.
While the school is based in New York, it has locations around the country and the world, including West Hollywood, Calif., Henderson, Nev., Germany, and Israel.
Touro also has a private high school, Mesivta Yesodei Yeshurun, in Queens, N.Y. The proposed high school in Naugatuck would be the school’s first location in Connecticut.
“The high school will also add economic development to the community and nurture young people with exceptional academic offerings to become successful in their careers and become productive and contributing members of society,” Krupka said.