State, local officials tour Lincoln High School

State, local officials tour Lincoln High School

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, center, speaks to Project Manager Charlie Roberts and Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond during a tour of the Lincoln High School addition on Tuesday. (Breeze photos by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – A group of state and local officials got a special sneak peek of Lincoln High School on Tuesday morning, taking one of the first glimpses into the construction zone that will make way for a state-of-the-art educational facility.

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who has spent the last several years visiting school facilities across the state, prompted the tour of the LHS project, which was funded in-part by the statewide school construction bond.

“It’s great for both of us to see where that money is going,” said Project Manager Charlie Roberts.

Magaziner said he was glad to see the project is going well, saying, “it gives us a real sense of what things look like on the ground and all of the ingenuity that goes into each phase. It’s really impressive and we’re hoping for many more success stories like this in Rhode Island over the next few years.”

Providing an update on where the project stands, Roberts gave a brief history of the LHS campus, which started as a junior high in 1955 before it grew and developed over the years into a sprawling, multi-building labyrinth of classrooms, offices and other spaces.

“Part of this project is to consolidate the campus and bring it back into this century,” he said, noting that the school’s existing neo-brutalist concrete parts are “not conducive in many, many ways to an educational program.”

The tour started at the North Gym, which is part of the circa 1955 building located to the left of the campus, which will be demolished next year.

The former entrance to the school has already been demolished and replaced with two stories of steel. When it opens in early 2020, that central portion of the campus will feature STEAM classrooms and an expansive media center.

Roberts said high school media centers are a far cry from what they were even a decade ago. These spaces are less structured, he said. Rather than sterile rows of bookshelves or computer desks, you might see a group of students working together using collaborative spaces, while others kick back with their Chromebooks on less traditional furniture.

What currently serves as a cafeteria will eventually be transformed into private practice rooms for chorus and band students, which Roberts said would bring the school’s “bare bones” arts and music programs to the next level.

Behind the school, crews have been working on underground utilities in the rear parking area. Project representatives are promising that roadway will be cleaned up and reopened to traffic in the next few weeks.

A second addition behind LHS will house the school’s career and technical programs, including auto and wood shop.

Construction on the dining commons, media center, administrative offices and new classroom addition is expected to be complete by early 2020. When that portion is ready to occupy, the school’s 1994 classroom wing will be vacated for phase two of construction.

The project is expected to be complete by August 2021.

Project Manager Charlie Roberts points out the school’s future media commons to Supt. Larry Filippelli, R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Town Administrator Joseph Almond.