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    Public invited to view raising of the Barnard School pedestrian bridge

    (7/7/2006) It’s not often that the public has the chance to see something as gigantic as a 138-ton pedestrian bridge being craned into place.

    That’s what will happen on the evening of Monday, July 10, 2006, when two giant cranes will swing the bridge into place in three parts across Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. The Citywide School Construction program is inviting the community to view the installation beginning at 8 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the installation will take place on the next best weather night.

    Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. said the pedestrian bridge is a unique feature for a school construction project and has drawn a lot of interest from residents and visitors, as has the nature center that is also under construction. He encouraged people to come out and see the installation.

    “In all of our school construction projects we try to capitalize, through innovative design, on the surrounding environs,” DeStefano said. “In this case, Barnard School benefits from its proximity to West River Memorial Park. Easy access to the nature center and the tidal wetlands of the park will serve as a valuable educational resource for the students of the school as well as the neighborhood. This is a novel way to literally bring the classroom out to the park and enhance the school’s environmental studies theme.”

    The Barnard School is undergoing a $43 million renovation at 170 Derby Ave. and will reopen in the fall. The pedestrian bridge is 229 feet long and weights a total of 138 tons. It will be fully enclosed and will connect the Barnard School with the new Nature Center under construction in the West River Memorial Park.

    Media coverage is invited but arrangements must be made beforehand to insure optimal access. Please call Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo at (203) 946-7660 to arrange.

    Barnard School is an interdistrict environmental studies school that reopens in September 2006, with a renovated 1913 building and new additions. The school will serve grades pre-K-8. The renovated and expanded facility has numerous science features, including greenhouses and a courtyard for science experiments, as well as the Nature Center and science activities taking place on the bridge. With its proximity to the West River, the

    Nature Center offers students the opportunities to explore the river and park and follow up with science experiments in the Nature Center. The school will also host a massive solar powered project funded by the City of New Haven and the CT Clean Energy Fund. It will take advantage of daylight by using roof mounted solar panels, providing 16% of the school’s energy.

    The bridge is already at the site. Two important pieces of the bridge connecting the main building to one pier and the Nature Center to the other pier– each approximately 55 feet long – have already been hoisted into place. The other 129’-4” piece that goes over the Boulevard awaits hoisting.


    More details about the pedestrian bridge, courtesy of Paul Larocque of David Thompson Architects:

    The pedestrian bridge for the Barnard Environmental Magnet School provides safe and secure access from the main school over Ella Grasso Boulevard to the Nature Center located in West River Memorial Park. The bridge and nature center are ADA compliant ensuring access to all.

    The bridge is supported by two concrete piers constructed of white concrete with decorative brick inlay. The total length of the bridge is 229 feet and is divided into three spans, the middle span over the boulevard being the longest at 129 feet. The bridge is constructed of high strength tube steel trusses and is completely clad in aluminum panels and windows to match the school and nature center. The total weight of the bridge when clad is approximately 138 tons. When completed, the pedestrian bridge will rest approximately 17.5 feet above the boulevard. Not only will the bridge provide access to the park for the school and neighborhood, but it will also serve as a Gateway to New Haven for those that travel from the west of the city.

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