Journalism / New Haven Register

High school fitness center takes step forward

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Aug. 21, 2008

GUILFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night approved one step in the process toward building a new fitness center at Guilford High School.

A group of parents is working to convert an old portable classroom at the school into a new weight room. The outbuilding is used for storage for the theater department, and space for some maintenance staff.

Cliff Gurnham, the school district’s facilities director, told the Planning and Zoning Commission that the plan is to move the maintenance space to a new 500-square-foot storage shed near the high school’s science wing.

“We couldn’t find any more space in the building,” Gurnham said.

He noted that the storage shed will be installed with a foundation and drainage, but could be moved in the future.

The Board of Education is discussing whether to renovate or replace Guilford High School.

“The hope is that later if something happens at that site, we can pick (the shed) up and move it,” he said.

The commission unanimously approved the application. The parents involved, who are donating their time, have already begun cleaning out the portable classroom and plan to install tens of thousands of dollars worth of fitness equipment.

The theater storage in the building will be accommodated in new lockers inside the high school.

Also at Wednesday’s regular meeting, the commission approved two changes to the site plan for Guilford Commons, the approved shopping center development on the “rock pile” site.

The controversial development is under construction at 1919 Boston Post Road.

John Knuff, an attorney for the developers, said that the two “very minor modifications” involve reconfiguring space in some of the buildings and adding two kiosks that would include information about other Guilford businesses.

“That kiosk will, as you enter the site, have just a way-finding sign for our own development, but on the back side, so as people leave, it will have information about downtown merchants,” Knuff said. “It would encourage and direct people who visit Guilford Commons to also visit merchants on the Green.”

The changes to the buildings were the result of a new plan for relocating a cell tower on the site, and do not affect the approved total square footage.

The revision to the site plan involved moving square footage from the second floor of a building and mezzanines of two other buildings to the first floor of the building. The commission approved the original site plan in January.

“We found a location (for the cell tower) in very close proximity to the existing tower,” Knuff said. “It will have no visual change to anybody.”

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