Officials support moving school administration offices to Lincoln High

Officials support moving school administration offices to Lincoln High

The former Lincoln Memorial School in Lonsdale is currently used as the Lincoln School Department’s administrative offices. The building will soon be vacated, with a renovated portion of Lincoln High School to house the central office. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Plans to move the School Department’s administrative offices to the Lincoln High School campus are underway, and officials are celebrating news that the move will not come at an additional cost to taxpayers.

In fact, Town Administrator Joseph Almond said by wrapping the administrative office move into the overall LHS construction project, the town will reap additional unexpected savings. By proceeding with the move now, Almond said the entire LHS project will qualify for new reimbursement opportunities from the state.

“We’ve been in discussion with the Rhode Island Department of Education seeking pre-approval to do this, and we’ve pretty much been given the green light and told that this will qualify for additional reimbursement for consolidating school buildings,” Almond said. “By adding this piece, we could reduce the net project cost pretty significantly.”

There is potential the town will be reimbursed an additional 5 percent on the entire LHS project for factoring in the administration move. If all goes as planned, the admin piece of the project alone could bring back roughly $850,000, or half of the total cost of the admin wing.

When the new administrative space is complete, Almond said the current school district offices, at the former Lincoln Memorial School on Lonsdale Avenue, would be sold, with the proceeds going back to the town.

The renovation of the wing that will house the new district administration offices is projected to cost approximately $1,728,948. The Town Council recently voted unanimously in support of a resolution to authorize the expenditure of LHS bond proceeds, not to exceed that amount, on the offices.

Councilor TJ Russo said, “The need for this can’t be overstated. The council has worked for years on this project, and one of our core goals has always been moving the administrative offices to the high school campus. Now to not only do that but to have that move generate more money for the town is really incredible.”

Councilors Bruce Ogni and Keith Macksoud agreed, with Ogni calling it “a grand slam for the town of Lincoln.” Macksoud said he’s “taken aback by the news that this will give us an additional 5 percent on the project. That in and of itself is incredible.”

On Monday evening, the Lincoln School Committee officially tapped RGB Architects to design and monitor construction of the administrative wing of the newly renovated portion of LHS.

The renovation project is wrapping up phase two, and Supt. Larry Filippelli said he’s optimistic as the project enters the “home stretch” and creeps closer to final completion.

The school’s 1990s-era wing is currently under renovation and is expected to open up to students and staff around Nov. 23. In addition, Filippelli said the school’s new transitions area and family consumer science spaces, including culinary, will go online in the coming weeks.

When the newly renovated wing reopens, students and staff will abandon the school’s original wing and move over to the fresh space. To facilitate the move, Filippelli said the high school may need to have a virtual learning day.

“We can’t have teachers moving and teaching children at the same time,” he said.

Another unfinished piece is the gymnasium and locker rooms, which Filippelli said were supposed to be done by Dec. 1, but are now tracking for Dec. 7 because of a COVID-19 exposure in the roofing contractor’s crew.

As of Monday’s meeting, Filippelli said the delay’s potential impact on sports was unknown.