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December 20, 2017

Downtown Hartford's High School Inc. could relocate as part of school restructuring plan

HBJ PHOTO | Gregory Seay 275 Asylum St., Hartford.

Downtown Hartford’s High School Inc. could relocate to the northern section of the city and be absorbed as part of a completely rebuilt Weaver High School within two years, according to the school restructuring plan unveiled Tuesday by Hartford Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.

The proposed plan, which the board of education will now consider, is part of a broader strategy to restructure the entire Hartford public schools district into a smaller network and save money.

High School Inc. covers general education in grades 9 through 12 at 275 Asylum St. downtown.

The school system leases the building and would have to pay $374,000 in rent for the upcoming year plus $62,500 in local taxes, which it cannot afford, said José Colón-Rivas, the school district's chief of operations.

"It's a financial decision," said Colón-Rivas. "The Board of Education is going through very tight financial times and we just don't have the money to pay the lease for this coming year."

The lease expires on July 31, 2018, he said.

The five-story, 35,000-square-foot office building at 275 Asylum was purchased by New York City landlord-developer Yisroel Rabinowitz in 2016 for just over $3 million. High School Inc. has been the building's primary tenant.

 The proposed restructuring plan, if ultimately approved, would require High School Inc. to move by June 7, 2018.

For the following academic year, it would be housed temporarily at the Journalism and Media Academy at 150 Tower Ave., but by August of 2019, that program and High School Inc. would be relocated to the new Weaver School at 415 Granby St. in North Hartford. The old Weaver school has already been demolished and reconstruction is under way, Colón-Rivas said.

Future uses for the building at 275 Asylum St. are not known at this time, he said.

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