Hyde School Moves ... To North Haven

Melissa Bailey PhotosForced out of Long Wharf by leaky roofs, Hyde students will now have to travel seven miles up the highway, past prim suburban lawns, to attend their New Haven public high school.

The 220-student magnet high school in the New Haven public school system, formally known as Hyde School of Health Sciences and Sports Medicine, had to move this summer unexpectedly due to roof problems at its previous home, Gateway Community College’s abandoned Long Wharf campus.

Now Hyde is settling into a new home at 88 Bassett—not the Bassett Street students know in Newhallville, but Bassett Road in North Haven, site of Gateway’s North Haven campus. Gateway partially vacated the North Haven campus when it moved to a new building in downtown New Haven last fall. The college still runs an automotive program in the North Haven basement.

The new Hyde campus is a 45-minute ride by city bus from downtown New Haven. With a large, grassy lawn on a quiet suburban street, it feels a world away.

Hyde’s new principal, Zakia Parrish, pronounced the space “brighter and nicer” than Hyde’s spot on Long Wharf. “The space is beautiful out front,” she said of the sprawling lawn.

“The staff are excited about the brightness, the feel, the energy of being in a new space,” Parrish said.

Parrish didn’t work at the school last year; she took over on July 1 from retiring principal John Russell. Parrish said the building has many amenities conducive to Hyde’s magnet theme of health science and sports medicine, as well as ample computer labs, an auditorium and a library.

The main drawback, she said, “is being so far from New Haven.”

Parrish (pictured) said the students, who hail from New Haven and surrounding suburbs, will all be able to take school buses to and from the new site in the morning and afternoon. The challenge will be helping kids and parents get to and from the school at other times.

If a kid misses the bus in the morning, for example, the school needs to “make sure they’re able to navigate taking the city bus,” Parrish noted. The C bus on CT Transit serves the campus. The route is circuitous: It meanders up Quinnipiac Avenue, crosses under I-91 to hit the Universal Drive shopping centers in North Haven, then wends its way towards Route 5. The whole trip takes about an hour.

News of the move to North Haven came fairly late in the summer. Parents were notified by letter and phone call on Friday, July 26, according to Parrish. While there had been rumors about the move, it wasn’t official until the state Board of Regents approved the space-sharing agreement at a special board meeting on July 20.

The Board of Regents voted unanimously to let Hyde use the North Haven Gateway space without paying rent, provided that New Haven public schools pay for their own utilities and cleaning services. The building, which was a middle school before Gateway took it over, spans 150,000 square feet. The board deemed it in the state’s interest to let Hyde move in because the state had been paying the full cost of upkeep for a mostly vacant building. Under the new arrangement, the state and New Haven roughly split the operating costs.

A tour of the building revealed that many classroom supplies (such as this skeleton) remained to be unpacked. Movers from William B. Meyer, Inc. spent most of the last week schlepping boxes of supplies from Long Wharf to New Haven, Parrish said.

Parrish said the new space has amenities that suit Hyde’s health science and sports medicine theme, including beds for physical therapy classes, ample space for the school’s weight room, and already-equipped science labs.

There’s a cafeteria on the first floor, an auditorium, and three computer labs. The building also has lockers in the hallways left over from the building’s middle-school days.

The campus has no gym or athletic fields. The campus abuts several fields owned by the town of North Haven; Parrish said Hyde is in negotiations about potentially using them.

“This does not have all of the things they need, and all of the things that they want,” said Will Clark, chief operating officer for New Haven schools of Hyde’s new home. But he said it’s a “good building” with an auditorium, lab space and amenities that “will fit the theme of that school well.”

Hyde students are used to having no fields of their own, Clark noted. Before they moved to Long Wharf last fall, they were in a Hamden swing space that also did not have fields. Hyde athletic teams play only “away” games.

Clark said it’s not certain how long Hyde will stay in the space. The agreement reached with the state is for one year.

“The plan was to be at Long Wharf until such time as we found a permanent location,” Clark said. “It’s great that [Gateway has] continued to collaborate with us, given the situation at Long Wharf. We’re going to have to keep looking and considering a more permanent solution.”

Clark said the distance from New Haven is a drawback. But North Haven is just one town north of Hamden, where Hyde was before, Clark noted. “We have thousands of kids who come to our schools from points further,” he said, referring to the suburban students bused into New Haven magnet schools.

Hyde mom Kim Riley, whose son will soon begin his senior year at Hyde, said she wishes parents had had time to weigh in on the move: “I do believe that there should have been more information before the school year ended about the move, where we were going, and maybe we would have some input like we did the year before.”

She said she hopes Hyde finds a stable home for students. After moving twice in two years, Riley said, “one of the things they need is a place to call their own.”

“I’m thinking positive with the new location, although it is far,” she said.

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posted by: mm on August 12, 2013  7:30am

Hyse spent most of its years in a rented former Catholic school in Hamden. The DeSefano administration spent untold millions mortgaging New Haven’s future generations for school building and never took care of Hyde.

There is no need for New Haven to have so many high schools. It is an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money to have a high priced principal and secretarial staff for a high school that serves a measley 220 students.

All these mini-high schools with specialty majors should be combined into a few schools with department heads for the particular curicula, common academic courses, one gym, one cafeteria, one principal.  This system is absolute nonsense.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on August 12, 2013  10:46am

I agree with “mm” 100 %. The people of New Haven need to wake up and recognize that the Board of Education is wasting our money and overextending the taxpayers with unnecessary programs. Most New Haveners do not realize how many high schools New Haven runs. We probably have more high schools per capita than any city its size in the nation! Nine high schools are listed at the Board website. Nine and they want more. A school for every program, curriculum or focus instead of having several programs in one school. A new building and staff for every school with 200 or less students. THIS DEFIES COMMON SENSE!

posted by: Brutus2011 on August 12, 2013  1:07pm

NHPS is very logical in its organization of schools and the hierarchy of its administrators or education managers.

The more schools, the more a high salary staff can be justified.

And, the more highly paid managers or administrators, the more loyalty to the system and the mayor because no one wants to lose a 100K+ job with benes once they see how it positively affects the quality of their lives.

This is why the management structure needs to be turned on its head. We spend way too much money on our schools. Simply put, its time to get real about what we spend for the results we get.

I know those who benefit from this inefficient waste of taxpayer’s dollars will recoil in horror at my words. Sorry. But it is time for you to find somewhere else to support your middle class lifestyle at the expense of our kids and our tax dollars.

And, for those who will say, what would do instead? Go and read my previous posts. And if not, just ask because I do have an alternative proposal to this current inefficient administration of our schools.

posted by: kbbyfc13 on August 12, 2013  2:16pm

Were having to many High School is not always good in Hyde case it works. My son attend Hyde for three out of his four year of High School. He gradute this past school year and is now attending a College in SC. I know that if it was not for Hyde being a small school he would have had a harder time in HS. Not every child can learn in a large school setting. We need more schools like Hyde not less.

Schools like Hill House and Cross etc. Have alot to learn about education from schools like Hdye.

I do think they need to work something out that is closer to New Haven. North Haven is to far.

posted by: True that on August 12, 2013  6:13pm

Hillhouse and Cross have a lot to learn from Hyde? Huh?  Unless it is an alternative school, it is highly inefficient to have a high school with only 220 kids on the books, which means there are less than 220 in school every day.  Hyde’s curriculum, or lack thereof, leaves a lot to be desired.  Hyde students should be enrolled in one of New Haven’s other 8 regular high schools.  Nine high schools (well, actually 12 if you count three alternative schools) in a city this size is beyond ridiculous.  There is room in Cross and Hillhouse alone to accommodate these students.  Besides the better curriculum and increased academic opportunities, the athletic programs at both schools would be even better.  And, we would not have a school in North Haven.