A damaged roof at the former Long Wharf home of Gateway Community College is scuttling plans for a new vocational school there and may force a city magnet high school to hit the road again, for the second time in less than a year.
Gateway spokeswoman Evelyn Gard said Tuesday that the building on Sargent Drive has a problem with the roof that makes it unsafe.
The Hyde School of Health Sciences and Sports Medicine, a small magnet high school with 200 students, moved into the building last September.
Gard said Hyde will have to vacate the building, along with the city’s new vocational high school program, which was to commence in the fall. A proposed “food incubator” will also need to find a new location.
New Haven public schools spokesperson Abbe Smith said she school board hasn’t yet determined where Hyde will go, or the new vo-tech school.
Hyde has a new principal as of Monday. Former Wilbur Cross Assistant Principal Zakia Parrish (pictured) took over for retiring Hyde Principal John Russell. Parrish said there’s still a chance Hyde may be able to stay in the building. “It’s still being negotiated.”
For 19 years, Hyde was housed at a parochial school in Hamden. Last September, Hyde had to move after the school year began because it was failing to meet the requirements of its federal grant. The Hamden location didn’t have the equipment or infrastructure for Hyde to fulfill the promises of its new curriculum, which is focused on health sciences and sports medicine.
After a plan to move into a new addition attached to Hillhouse High fell through amid neighborhood opposition. Hyde ended up moving into the second floor of Gateway’s campus, where it was intended to stay for a couple of years as it expands the student body and looks for a permanent home.
All was well until recently, when workers fixing the HVAC system found some damage on the building’s roof, said Smith. She said engineers were brought in and have been assessing what fixing the roof might entail.
“We are in discussions with Gateway about what the plan would be for next year,” Smith said. “Whatever we do is subject to approval by the Board of Regents,” which oversees state universities and community colleges.
Gard, the Gateway spokeswoman, said the Board of Regents did an assessment. “It turns out there are some serious structural issues with the roof, to the point where we have informed Hyde it’s really not a good idea for them to have students in the building,” Gard said. “They are going to vacate. … We’re very concerned with that building being safe.”
Gard said Gateway had also hoped to move its automotive program from North Haven to Long Wharf. That “will not happen until this is addressed,” she said.
Gard said she doesn’t know exactly what’s wrong with the roof, but “it’s an extremely expensive repair, probably in the seven figures. … It’s bad enough that it’s uninhabitable.”
Gateway will address the problem as soon as possible, Gard said.