City officials tour new Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School, see progress on reconstruction

Published on Thursday, 21 October 2021 18:21
Written by Dean Wright


BRISTOL – City officials took a tour of the new Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School’s interior Wednesday to get a glance at the project’s progress and theater reconstruction.

“What was really needed was a new gymnasium because the old one doesn't conform to any physical education or team sports dimensions. We added a gym in the back,” said QA+M Architecture Architect Angela Cahill.

Cahill said among other desperately needed spaces in the old Bristol High School building was backstage space.

“The way the original building was constructed, the back of the stage wall was the back of the building and there was no place for performers to prepare and get into costume or build sets or anything that goes on in the backstage,” said Cahill. “We’re adding a two-story backstage addition that will include a scene shop and a costume shop and all that green space that performers need.”

The architect said that crews “pretty much gutted” the building.

“However, when you say gutted we didn’t knock down any of the demising walls between spaces because this building has such great bones,” said Cahill. “We are dealing with some smaller classroom sizes because this is 100 years-old. We would build an eight, 900 or maybe 1,000 square foot classroom now. Some of these classrooms are 700 and some are 800.”

Cahill said there were still “beautiful high ceilings” and “great proportions” to the classroom spaces, however.

“I believe that now all the (utility) services are coming to the building and now it’s getting detailed with construction inside,” she said.

The school is projected to be finished in June 2022.

Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu joined the tour of the building along with City Councilman Greg Hahn.

“I had not been there for a few months,” she said. “It was great to see the progress being made and hear that there are approximately 100 people working on site every day with almost 25% of them being from Bristol. Those are extra benefits to these projects. The school and theater are going to be great additions to what is already a developing downtown.”

Tours revealed that the upper most floors of the school are beginning to be outfitted with dry wall as well as wood hutches for storage and other details. Lower floors still have steel framing exposed as workers continue to pull the structure together a piece at a time.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 21 October 2021 18:21. Updated: Thursday, 21 October 2021 18:23.