Fusco Corporation – Eli Whitney Technical High School

Fusco Eli Whitney Lab

Fusco's experience is carrying the day on its latest project for Eli Whitney Technical High School in Connecticut.

By Chris Petersen

Eli Whitney Technical High School is one of the oldest vocational schools in Connecticut, having been built in 1955. That means generations of young men and women have passed through the school’s halls as they earned the skills and knowledge they needed to build their careers. It also means that the campus was in need of a comprehensive renovation to ensure that it will continue to provide the young people of the future with the same education. A project of that importance requires a contractor with an impressive base of knowledge and skills of its own.

Fortunately for the school, Fusco is on the job.  The 93 year old New Haven, Conn.-based builder and property manager has a lot of experience building public and private projects throughout the state, and Senior Project Manager Gene Festa said the company’s experience has played a large and important part in helping keep the work at Eli Whitney Technical High School on track.

Specializing in construction management, general contracting and design/build work, Fusco along with Fusco Management, the property management arm of the company, has developed one of the most diverse portfolios in the state with successful projects completed across a wide range of sectors including office buildings, healthcare facilities, industrial buildings, parking garages and transportation centers along with educational facilities in both k-12 and higher education. 

The work being done at Eli Whitney Technical High School is a complete upgrade and renovation of the campus including the construction of new buildings. Although working in and around a fully functional high school campus creates some challenging situations, Festa says Fusco’s experience and skill mean it is more than capable of meeting those challenges and delivering a revamped and revised campus that will serve the needs of Eli Whitney Technical High School’s student body for generations to come while making safety the top priority throughout the campus transition.

Familiar Territory

As could be expected of a company with 93 years of continuous operation under its belt, experience plays a large role in the successful completion of local landmarks, educational facilities and a variety of projects across the state.  Festa says that includes the company’s long history of public sector projects.  “We have done a lot of work with the state of Connecticut.  We know the statutes, the preferred method of contract execution, their accounting methods, personnel, etc., so there’s a degree of familiarity”, he says. fusco box

The company’s extensive list of successful projects and long history in Connecticut means Fusco has access to a deep bench of subcontractors that they have worked with.  Festa says those strong working relationships with many of the best and most talented subcontractors in the region help get the most competitive pricing for Fusco’s clients.

Total Makeover

Bringing the campus of Eli Whitney Technical High School up to date and making it ready for the future means virtually no part of the campus will be left untouched during the current renovation project. The existing complex of buildings is receiving substantial makeovers, and new buildings are being added to the campus, as well. Festa says the project includes the construction of a new athletic field and field house.

“It’s really a state-of-the-art facility, and the architecture is interesting,” Festa says, adding that the exterior of the buildings will feature different colors and wing-like structures to create different profiles for each facility. The renovated campus also will feature sculptures and artwork from nationally recognized artists.

Working in Phases

Even though the campus is undergoing a significant transformation, Eli Whitney Technical High School needs to continue to serve its student body, which means the school has remained in continuous operation with a full student population all through the construction process. “The biggest challenge is always working in and around an occupied area,” Festa says.

Working on the school without disrupting classes or creating potentially dangerous situations for students means Fusco is utilizing a phasing strategy on the project. Festa says the project team works in phases not only to avoid interrupting classes, but also to prevent students from being in areas where air quality and/or safety become an issue. “We isolate certain areas to work in,” he says.

Team Effort

Work at Eli Whitney Technical High School is nearing completion, with the final phase expected to be wrapped up by July. Festa says the biggest challenge has been working through the many unexpected factors that crop up over the course of a project of this nature.  He notes however, that Fusco’s history has given it the experience it needs to work through those issues as well as working with a strong group of partners at all levels to ensure the project’s success. 

“This is really and truly a team effort,” Festa says. “It really takes the input, the cooperation and the vision of all groups that we’re involved with on this project.” 

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