STAMFORD, Conn. -- Charles Farfaglia was impressed with J. M. Wright Technical High School after a tour Tuesday morning and said students of the revived Stamford school will be equally impressed when they walk through its doors this fall.
"This is the type of school that kids are going to want to attend. It's good to have something that will probably wind up being the crown jewel of Connnecticut's technical education system," said Farfaglia, vice president of human resources for Fairway Market.
Fairway Market is one of the companies that has partnered with the school to offer programs this fall. He and other sponsors attended a breakfast and tour Tuesday of the school, which can also serve students from Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Wilton and Weston.
"This is a technical school that will attract kids," he said. "The school is beautiful. It's impressive, and it is exactly what is needed from a technical education perspective."
On Oct. 10, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, along with other officials, officially broke ground for the $85 million, 200,000-square-foot renovation project on the state-run school.
Wright Tech was closed in 2009, after 90 years in operation in Stamford, due to a state budget shortfall and declining enrollment.
However, local and state lobbying efforts led to a decision to reopen what State Technical High School System Superintendent Nivea Torres called the “flagship for the district” during the groundbreaking ceremony last fall.
State Rep. Daniel Fox, D-148th District, was one of the interested tour-goers on Tuesday. He called the renovated facility beautiful and was relieved that it would be filled with students soon.
"It's exciting to be here now and see it almost wrapping up," he said of the facility, which is aiming to enroll 160 ninth-graders in the fall. Fox said he was happy to hear the school has hit 138 students enrolled.
"It has really become a reality. Two months from now students will be coming and going," he said.
Torres said she has been receiving nothing but positive comments about the renovated and reopened school.
"People are really excited to see we will be coming online in the fall. We have been getting a lot of positive feedback," she said. "We have a strong group of business and industry partners from local business local unions small-size business to mid-size partners to folks like Priceline.com, Fairway Market, Pepperidge Farm. That certainly is going to add a richness to our curriculum development and programs."
She said she isn't surprised by the community support.
"I was very pleased and encouraged about the support we received," she said.
Jerry Charlup, chief operating officer of Stamford-based American Solar & Alternative Power, was impressed with the state-of-the-art equipment in the school. Charlup, a car collector, said he saw equipment in the school that out-rivals high-end automotive shops.
"I haven't seen some of that equipment in shops in Connecticut that do race cars," he said.
Charlup was representing Solar Connecticut, a state association that has been involved in developing solar-related programs at the school.