No. Providence Facilities Committee seeks to split RIDE funding

No. Providence Facilities Committee seeks to split RIDE funding

NORTH PROVIDENCE - With limited availability of Rhode Island Department of Education reimbursement money, the North Providence Facilities Committee has split its school renovation project into two phases, with plans to submit the stage two application this summer.

During the May 28 School Committee meeting, Business Manager John McNamee said the facilities committee met several times during the past six months to discuss the various stages and applications that need to be submitted to RIDE in order to receive reimbursement funds.

McNamee said the committee is currently drawing up the stage two application, which requests between $65 million and $75 million from RIDE for renovations to the elementary schools and health and safety upgrades at the middle school and the high school.

He said the committee put out a Request For Proposal for an architectural firm to prepare a 10-year strategic plan to submit with the application.

While stage two is the application requesting money from RIDE, stages three and four are the building program.

"Stages three and four will focus on the elementary schools, whereas the 10-year plan will call for ultimately a single middle school," he said.

He said because of limited money, RIDE would not reimburse North Providence for the total project so it had to be broken into two phases.

Phase one of the building program will include renovations and new construction to the six outdated elementary schools within the town.

It will also call for new roofs, electrical and a HVAC system at both Birchwood and Ricci middle schools.

"The middle schools are in pretty good shape but since we're going to be getting money from RIDE, who will reimburse us 60 percent, we're making sure we get everything we need for these schools," he said.

The final part of phase one would be a $5 million investment at the high school, he said.

This investment would include new roofs on the high school's auditorium.

"So that's going to be a major expenditure, it's been 20 years since that's been redone. There are also code changes and health and safety upgrades," he said.

McNamee said once the stage two application is submitted RIDE will review it and come back with an answer regarding the funding.

He said the facilities committee will meet again in the middle of this month to look at the final options for phase one.

"This will take place over the next two to five years," he said. "There's a number of districts in the state that are vying for housing aid so it's important for us to keep this process going forward."