Elementary designs done, ready for construction bids

Elementary designs done, ready for construction bids

Updated designs for the new Anna McCabe Elementary School gym feature higher ceilings and noise canceling insullation to create a space usable for the school and community members.

SMITHFIELD – Weeks away from going out to bid for renovations and repairs to Smithfield elementary schools, the School Building Committee has updated design plans for each of the schools, including taking a closer look at the new gym at McCabe Elementary School.

Supt. Judy Paolucci and Project Manager Derek Osterman of Colliers International said the final color scheme, furniture selections, and design for the gym at McCabe are completed.

“We’ve done so much work in the last six weeks,” Paolucci said.

Paolucci said changes to the design of the new gym at McCabe will make it a usable space for students and the community. She said the ceiling height increased to allow for community events, and a door system was added to remove access to the school if warranted.

“The indoor bathrooms will be accessible, but not other parts of the building,” she said, adding it can “easily be used for afterschool activities.”

Paolucci said there is a slight change in the outdoor look of the building to ensure the new construction looks similar to the brick and metal of existing Smithfield schools. Osterman said the idea is to keep Smithfield schools looking “classy and timeless.”

The patterning, color schemes and renovated spaces will be comparable among schools and grade levels to ensure equity for all students, he said.

“We were fiscally conservative with the upgrades throughout each building,” Osterman said.

The School Building Committee went through each school and took inventory of each piece of furniture and its quality to keep as many functional pieces as possible, Paolucci said.

The theme for the project includes three concepts, Paolucci said:

• First is to prioritize projects to stay within in cost for the project while closing Winsor Elementary School.

• The second is to get preschool into LaPerche Elementary School and out of McCabe Elementary to make room for Winsor students.

• The third is to make all schools ADA compliant with improved safety and equity among students.

“And getting that $45 million to stretch as far as possible,” she said.

According to Osterman, the $45 million bond project is “on time and on budget.”

Discussion for the elementary reconfiguration began in November 2018 when it was apparent that Winsor Elementary School needs to close due to fire code variances extending more than 14 years.

Paolucci said Winsor is town property and it is the town’s decision on what to do with the building once decommissioned. She added that it is in a prime location in town, and if sold, could be used to lower bond payments.

Closing Winsor meant reconfiguring the elementary schools so McCabe could take in the additional students and send all pre-K to Old County Road School.

With seven potential bidders for the construction of the elementary school reconfiguration project, Paolucci and Osterman feel confident there will be competitive pricing for the project.

After approval from the Town Council, which they believe will occur at the Feb. 4 meeting, the schools will send out a request for proposals for the renovations and construction of elementary schools.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Osterman said.

Osterman said he hopes to have the request out on Feb. 14 and returned and awarded in late March. Construction at the elementary schools would begin in April and go through August 2021, with the project completed and schools occupied a month later.


And then there is the athletic fields that have needed attention and repairs for the same 14 years that the school committee ignored the Fire Code variances??