E.O. Smith High School parents fight to keep school in location next to UConn campus

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STORRS-- A large contingent of students, teachers and parents from E.O. Smith High School gathered in front of the school's building Tuesday evening to send a message to the Board of Education: leave the school where it is.

"We've done two petitions to the Board of Education," said Kelly Bourquin, a parent of two at the school. "I think we have really great schools here and it's not about that. We're for education it's just that looking at our location and seeing all the positives more than just looking at the situation from a financial perspective."

The Regional School District 19 is comprised of Mansfield, Ashford and Willington. Tuesday evening, its Board of Education met to discuss possible options for the building, but decided to table the discussion to provide more time for community input.

The board had considered selling the building to UConn, whose campus is right next door, and moving down the road to UConn's Mansfield Deport campus, which would be rebuilt and updated.

"There's always trade-offs in anything that we do, if we stay here there'll be a trade off, if we move there'll be trade-offs," said Bruce Silva, region superintendent. "That [Mansfield] site offered 100 acres, we could build a brand new high school on it. All our athletic fields would be there, our students would not have to cross a busy road to get to those fields, so that's attractive. There would be adequate parking."

Parents say they like the current location because it's sandwiched between the UConn campus and downtown Storrs Center, providing educational and commercial advantages for students.

Nothing has been decided yet and the superintendent stressed that there are still many steps that need to be taken before any movement happens.

The Board decided to take up the issue in a future, yet to be determined, public workshop session.