Construction is nearing completion on the first new high school built in Bridgeport in 50 years, and Mayor Bill Finch applauded the small, minority and women-owned businesses and contractors who participated in the construction project.

Finch announced that 37% of the contracted work on the project was awarded to small, minority and women-owned businesses. Together, contracts for Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises totaled nearly $30 million.

The construction project was managed by Fusco Corp., a family-owned construction company renowned for its green mission and McKissack & McKissack, the oldest minority and woman-owned professional design and construction firm in the nation.

Finch hosted a grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting on Aug. 19. The first students will begin classes on Aug. 29.

“Building a new state-of-the-art high school that provides Bridgeport students with an unprecedented curriculum, and creating opportunities for small, minority and women-owned businesses to succeed in the city of Bridgeport have been two of my highest priorities since taking office,” Finch said. “Today, I am very pleased to see that Fairchild-Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet High School will open for students this school year and that a high percentage of the work was done by small, minority and women-owned businesses.”

Contracts for the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict High School Construction Program were awarded to such companies as Premier Construction, African American-owned, Bridgeport-based company performed masonry-related work; P&C Fence, woman-owned, Bridgeport-based company that provided fencing; PJ’s Construction, Hispanic-owned company that provided trucking work; DECCO, Asian-owned, Bridgeport-based company responsible for painting; JAQ Concrete, African American-owned company that provided concrete paving; Kerri Electric, African American-owned company provided wiring and installation; RK Insulation, African American-owned company that installed pipe and duct covers; and JFC Construction, African American-owned company provided reinforcing steel work.

The diverse composition of the workforce was achieved through the efforts of the city’s Small, Minority and Women-owned Business Resource Office (SMBRO), which helps small, minority or women-owned businesses receive ample support and opportunities to grow and flourish.

The SMBRO, one of the first initiatives of Finch’s administration, has been providing small businesses with the tools necessary to prosper in Bridgeport for more than six years. In 2012, the office registered 85 new businesses and collected $15,000 in fines from companies in violation of the 2007 Minority Business Enterprises Ordinance.

Moreover, SMBRO, led by department director Deborah Caviness, provides an extensive database of local small, minority and women-owned businesses and sub-contractors, giving prime contractors access to hundreds of sub-contractors who are available to meet their hiring needs.

Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet High School complex will be comprised of three different high schools specific to areas crucial to modern-day business, innovation and sustainability.

For 1,500 students in the greater Bridgeport area, there will be opportunities to learn at the Information Technology and Software Engineering High School, the Zoological Science, Research and Biotechnology High School and the Physical Sciences, Engineering and Aerospace/Hydrospace Science High School.

Additionally, the complex will also serve as the temporary home of the Bridgeport Military Academy.