Weigh in at the virtual “visioning session” Monday, Dec. 20
The school district is embarking on a major renovation and building project for the EG schools to remedy space needs, update aging facilities and address changing educational needs. They have identified the issues and now are starting to develop solutions – but they need your input!
It’s December and everyone is busy. But this is an important step in the process that will lead to designing a plan, figuring out how much that plan will cost, and putting a bond referendum before voters to approve (or not) said plan.
The School Building Committee is holding the third of three visioning sessions, each dedicated to a specific age group, on Monday, Dec. 20 – this one centered on the elementary schools.
Why it matters now, according to school officials, is that right now the state offering 35 percent reimbursement to school districts for school construction costs, and additional bonuses if the work being done addresses specific needs as outlined by the state Department of Education:
- School safety
- Health and safety (upgrading HVAC, making bathrooms completely ADA compliant, etc.)
- Total building replacement
- Newer and fewer schools (consolidation)
- Educational enhancements (career-tech, early childhood)
- Decreasing overcrowding
According to officials hired to handle this stage of the planning, East Greenwich could go for several of the bonuses, including safety, health, educational enhancements and adding more space. But because of the district’s relative prosperity, reimbursements would be capped at 52 percent so the district couldn’t go for every bonus even if the goals aligned. But 52 percent means more than 50 percent of the district’s projects could be covered.
“That kind of reimbursement is really generational. It really doesn’t happen,” said Chris Spiegel of Colliers Project Leaders.
What exactly is on the table? According to school officials and project managers, pretty much everything is on the table, including renovations of current space, additions to current buildings, grade reconfigurations, and even new construction. Of course, monetary concerns will limit the scope of what actually gets done, but the idea at this point is to lay all the ideas out there first.
So, if you are interested in the future of EG schools, see if you can log on to the Zoom session tonight. It won’t be the last time the public is invited to weigh in but it’s early in the process and sometimes that’s when ideas get baked in.
The elementary school visioning session is Monday, Dec. 20, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Zoom – find the link HERE.