City and district officials gathered on Tuesday, October 1st for a ceremony to dedicate the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School building at 150 Tower Avenue, the renovated site of the former Barbour Elementary School. The $37.4 million makeover includes a TV studio, recording studio, surround-sound movie theater, radio station, editing suites, numerous computer labs and flat panel display monitors. The redesign allows for an abundance of natural lighting through large-scale windows and has efficient heating and cooling systems that will result in cost savings of about $35,000 annually. Later that day, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) held an open house for its new Learning Lab at 1049 Asylum Avenue, where - in partnerships with Hartford Public Schools -- seniors from the academy will spend a year developing their Capstone and media portfolios enabling them to strengthen their understanding of academic subjects and acquire critical career and life skills.
Principal Leonard Epps was the master of ceremonies and discussed the importance of the school and its tenets (discipline, respect, unity and maturity = DRUM.) Students from the Journalism and Media Academy gave a wonderful, original performance of a song and spoken word piece. The extremely confident student leader Elijah Williams spoke, as did Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto, who referenced the "dream girl" from Mr. Wiiliams rap song in saying to him, "I am your dream girl because I worked hard and earned a master's degree, which I expect you will do that as well.' The crowd laughed and applauded. Mayor Pedro E. Segarra; and John H. Motley, Chairman of the School Building Committee spoke, as did an inspirational JMA parent and SGC member, Ashon Avent who was also a student of Leonard Epps' years ago.
State Sen. Eric Coleman attended, and ARCADIS/O&G Program Management, Newfield Construction, and The SLAM Collaborative, Inc. architecture and design had representatives in attendance.