At times nearly 30 years ago, the future of the Milford Central School District could have been portrayed as a weathervane, spinning in directions of either a new school, consolidation, or closing. The “winds” changed considerably between 1984 and 1988, but the end result was a new school in the village before the end of the decade.
“Milford Central School Superintendent Gordon Hammond says that a proposed $4.2-million kindergarten through 12th grade school building on County Route 35 is ‘more feasible costwise’ than enlarging and renovating the district’s existing structure,” it was reported in the Saturday, Feb. 4, 1984 edition of The Daily Star.
The proposed school and land purchase was to be located next to the Board of Cooperative Education Services Occupational Center. The existing school was then found on West Main Street, built in 1927 and added on to in 1952. It is known today simply as Milford Housing, at 50 West Main St. By 1984 the old school had become overcrowded, as six mobile classrooms had been brought to the site. There were 400 students enrolled at the time.
The school board had conducted a study on the costs of a new school versus the rehabilitation of the present building. Energy cost savings, insurance and annual repairs seemed to tip the scales in favor of a new school, to be built to accommodate 600 students.
Not everyone agreed. The Concerned Citizens Committee was formed, critical of the new school plan. The number 600 was arrived at from the district’s projected enrollment increase in the coming years, made in 1983.
“There is no justification for such a projection, no matter how you go about it,” said Deane Winsor, a committee member. He pointed out that school districts in the area had projected a downturn in enrollment at least for the next decade. “Why should Milford be different?” he said.
The plan went before district voters on Wednesday, March 14, and a decisive “no” was the result, a 902-215 margin.