Borough President Vito Fossella capped off the revitalization of Curtis High School’s front plaza with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the culmination of several months of work done on the landmarked school’s entrance.
The Curtis High School Borough Student Advisory Council appealed to Borough President Fossella after recounting constant tripping and flooding issues associated with the plaza’s old pavers. In June, he answered their request by allocating $250,000 in capital funding to replace the pavers, the first replacement in over 90 years, as well as replacing the grating to mitigate ponding issues. Additionally, Curtis High School invested in beautifying the plaza with boxwood shrubs and uplighting, as well as raising the curbs to prevent flooding.
“The reality was there were safety hazards and it wasn’t right,” said Borough President Fossella at a press conference outside of Curtis. “It took a collaborative effort. To the students -- thank you very much for bringing this to our attention, we’re happy to do it. Although, we started with the request just about pavers, we figured we were going to do it right so we changed the landscaping here with the boxwood hedges, cut some branches, and ultimately, there will be some nice uplighting so you could see this gorgeous building behind us.”
Borough President Fossella also pointed out a special guest who was in attendance for the ceremony.
“Generations of students have made this place shine,” he said. “One of those students, who graduated in 1957, is a proud Curtis alum and is my father. And although we did not plan it, today is his birthday.”
Principal Greg Jaenicke thanked Borough President Fossella for the funds to restore Curtis, often referred to the “Castle On The Hill.”
“The need for a renovation and refurbishment of this pathway became evermore apparent as missing and cracked bricks, casualties of age, weather and the footsteps of thousands of students, staff and visitors over the years began to multiply in recent years,” said Principal Jaenicke. “For us, as the borough president mentioned, it was first about safety, but it was also about aesthetics and keeping the historic site well-maintained, preserved and poised to serve the community for many, many more years to come.”