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March 16, 2023

New arts and culture center slated for former Hamden Middle School

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED The former Hamden Middle School site is slated for redevelopment into an arts and culture center.

State legislators announced this week that $5.4 million in state funding has been secured to transform the former, blighted Hamden Middle School site into a hub for arts and culture.

The money is coming from the state’s Community Investment Fund.

Several area lawmakers, such as Senate President Martin Looney, Senator Jorge Cabrera and state representatives Mike D’Agostino, Mary Welander, Josh Elliott and Liz Linehan, welcomed the funding. 

“This former Hamden Middle School has been an issue of concern and contention for a long time,” Looney said. “We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel with this project and will soon turn this area into a vibrant community center.”

Officials said the funding will help pay for the demolition and abatement of the structure, and planning for the creation of the new arts and culture center.

The former middle school at 550 Newhall St. closed in 2002, when a new middle school was built on Dixwell Avenue. The former school was built on top of a landfill in 1956 and was closed in 2002 due to environmental concerns with the soil, which has since been remediated. Portions of the school campus have been demolished already.

D’Agostino noted the funding will enable the town to demolish the long-abandoned middle school to pave the way for the new center.

“This is a necessary first step in making vital improvements to the Newhall neighborhood and eventually building an arts and cultural center for the community,” said D’Agostino. 

The timeline for remaining demolition and the creation of the new center was not immediately available. 

Cabrera said the new center will be a welcome addition to the community.

"This arts and cultural community center carries with it the potential to serve so many in the surrounding Newhall neighborhood and provide resources they need and deserve close to home,” Cabrera said.

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