State hoping to use former prison site for high school
MANSFIELD, Conn. (AP) — State officials are working on a plan that would transform the site of a former prison into a technical high school.
The University of Connecticut, which had taken control of the former Bergin Correctional Institution in Mansfield in 2015, on Wednesday transferred the 35-acre site and 25 adjoining acres back to the state Office of Policy and Management.
Paul Hinsch, the state’s policy director for asset management, said officials have been searching for an adequate site to replace the old Windham Technical High School for over a decade.
The site of the former prison could work, he said, because it already has infrastructure such as sewer and water hookups and the needed land for athletic fields.
The prison, built in 1988, was closed in 2011 as the state’s inmate population declined. UConn took control of the site, hoping to use it as a centralized food service facility, Hinsch said. But that venture was eventually deemed too costly and the site has only been used for parking during nearby construction projects, he said.
The plan to build a high school on the site is still in its preliminary stages and the cost and timeframe have not been finalized, he said.
No matter what happens to the site, the existing prison buildings would be torn down and no students will ever serve detention in a former prison cell, he said.
If the site is not used for a high school, UConn will get it back in five years, he said.
“It’s really a win-win if we can do this, because UConn and the technical high schools already have an existing agricultural relationship and those agricultural fields are right behind where this potential school could go,” he said.