New Platt Tech part of 'world class' technical education in CT

MILFORD — The new Platt Technical High School is a modern learning environment and a source of pride for the city. But according to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, it also will play a role in national security.

Blumenthal, who attended Tuesday's grand opening of the new school, said Pentagon officials frequently ask him about the state's ability to fill contracts to build helicopters or submarines.

"They have to hire thousands of workers over the next few years, and questions are arising if we can find workers for those jobs," he said Tuesday. "The biggest challenge we face economically is to find trained and skilled workers to fill the jobs right now and in our future. This school is meeting those challenges."

Blumenthal said the school was "a recognition that career and technical education is a first class, world class goal of Connecticut."

Ellen Solek, interim superintendent of Connecticut Technical Education and Career Systems, said the school would be key in meeting the state's workforce needs.

"The building, as beautiful as it is, doesn't mean a whole lot until we fill it. And we are filling it with purpose, pride and with a mission," said Solek. "Our mission is to contribute, like no one else, to Connecticut's workforce both now and in the future."

The school has been open for about five weeks, according to Principal Justin Lowe. He said he was looking forward to leading the school and educating the next generation of students.

"We've been opened for five and a half weeks and have had a great start, and I'm proud for our school community to buy into my workforce-ready goals," said Lowe. "I look forward to leading Platt Technical High School for many years to come."

The new 224,000-square-foot high school accommodates about 988 students and was completed at a cost of about $123 million. The campus includes a 15-bay garage to house maintenance equipment and the school’s blue school buses, which transport students to job sites and its athletic teams to away games. 

The architectural design of the new complex was done by Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc., of South Windsor with construction work administrated by KBE Building Corp. of Farmington. The project added an estimated 1,953 jobs to the local economy over its duraction, according to state Department of Administrative Services spokesman John McKay.

The previous building, which dates back to 1974, is scheduled for demolition in November, with new sports fields going in its place.

"This is the type of institution that you have for prestigious universities and colleges. And the City of Milford - we are proud to be home to Platt Tech," said Milford Mayor Ben Blake. "To all the students and teachers, I hope these new classrooms offer you the opportunity to stretch and play and to be creative."

In addition to the creativity, students at Platt should also expect to work hard and build a future, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said.

"Platt attracts a diverse student population from across the state because of the rigorous academics, opportunity for real-world work experience and the chance to earn college credit," she said. "By offering diverse programs and curriculums, you provide your students with the tools they need to reach the dreams and aspirations for themselves and their families."

Charlene Russell-Tucker, the state's commissioner of education, agreed.

"Our technical high schools are critical places and spaces for students who wish to enter the workforce," she said. "Students who choose these meaningful technical education pathways deserve a world-class curriculum and a world-class building to learn, and this Platt Tech High School does just that."