ANSONIA: Even as some bean counters in the Connecticut Department of Education were presenting the Governor with plans to shutter two vocational tech schools, Ansonia Emmett O’Brien was opening the doors to its “$94 million makeover.”

Emmett O’Brien serves 574 students in grades 9-12. The renovations added 48,000 square feet, bringing the school to 220,000 square feet. The project was first approved in 2003 but construction didn’t start until 2014 with design by South Windsor based architects Drummey Rosane Anderson and the Fusco Corporation of New Haven as construction manager.

The renovations include a cafeteria with a “state-of-the-art kitchen” for the school’s culinary arts programs as well as its own “Café 141,” a restaurant run by students.

The new exterior puts a modern high tech face on the vocational tech system. Critics of the renvovation claimed that construction of a new school of the same size would have been only $45 million. A middle school renovation in North Haven, however, is projected to cost $69 million.