Many Rhode Island school districts are making plans to move forward with long-planned construction projects. Last year a four-year moratorium on state funding for school construction was lifted and this summer, the General Assembly approved $80 million for school renovations and repairs.
An independent audit of public schools in the state is underway. Results of the audit will be released next year, which may lead to more funding, but many districts are not waiting to address needed projects.
The North Providence district has approved a $75 million bond issue for the November ballot. Projects will include two new elementary schools and health and safety upgrades at all the remaining buildings.
“The school buildings are in very poor condition and must be addressed. If I could change anything it would be to address the learning environments in our schools – it is critical to the community,” said North Providence Superintendent Melinda Smith in a recent interview with WPRI News.
Barrington Public Schools has planned a $68.4 million middle school, to be built on the same site as the current school. The roof of the existing school failed last winter and the classrooms are too small for a middle school.
The School Committee of Westerly recently approved a $38.5 million elementary school redesign project. The project includes three schools that would receive extensive site improvements, additions, separate bus and parent drop-offs, combined gymnasiums and cafeterias, heating and air-conditioning and bathroom renovations.