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Photo Essay

Greenest school in Connecticut a first-of-its-kind for state

$126M Bridgeport high school has 10 wind turbines, several solar panels and green roof
  • Large expanses of glass provide a connection between indoor and outdoor learning areas and offer plenty of natural light throughout the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus.
  • Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus has 10 wind turbines.
  • The 250,000 square-foot Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus will eventually enroll 1,500 students.
  • Flexible learning environments are configured for traditional instruction, group or individual study as the need arises.
  •  Group study areas feature work surfaces with storage underneath, offering more natural light and unobstructed views to the park site.
  • The student commons is the heart of the school, connecting its three learning communities. It is used for assembly, dining and group study.
  • The school was built on an abandoned park, where forgotten cars rusted. Today, the natural envioronment provides a rare rural escape for many of the urban students.

The largest school infrastructure project in Connecticut history is nearing its one-year anniversary. The Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus in Bridgeport, Conn., was completed last August for $126 million and is the state’s most environmentally friendly school.

Situated on an abandoned park, the campus has 10 wind turbines, several solar panels and a green roof that not only save energy costs but are integrated into the school’s STEM-based curriculum.

The wind turbines and solar panels alone save approximately 24 percent of normal electricity costs per year for the school, according to the design firm JCJ Architecture. The energy-efficient design as a whole is expected to save the school $150,000 per year in utility costs.

Fairchild Wheeler is the first new high school built in the city of Bridgeport in 50 years, and first welcomed students last August. Students are organized into three distinct learning communities: information technology; zoological studies and applied biology; and physical science, math and aerospace engineering. Each discipline has industry partners that provide labs within the school for hands-on experience in each field.

The 250,000 square-foot school will eventually enroll 1,500 students in grades 9 through 12. Some 70 percent of students are from Bridgeport, and the other 30 percent from seven surrounding towns.