PAWTUCKET – A “good-faith” effort to get Shea High School up to an acceptable standard will cost nearly $10 million, Derek Osterman of Colliers International told the School Committee last week.
The committee approved requesting the funding from the city to address the first series of concerns from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The district was placed under warning status by the state late last year because of the condition of facilities at Shea.
A potential second request would total about $12 million in additional repairs, Osterman said. The district staff has also been being proactive about completing the upgrades they can handle.
The key cost driver is repairs to the Shea auditorium, including structural and roof work, the balcony, and portable staging to make the space useable for students and staff as soon as possible, at $5.8 million, and another $3 million in fire safety upgrades.
The committee had previously asked the city for money from a 2018 bond, but Grebien had asked for a detailed breakdown of the facility needs, which was presented last week.
Shea will be merged with Tolman at the planned new Pawtucket High School at the McCoy Stadium site, but that opening is still expected to be five or six years away, said school officials.
Also at the Feb. 9 school board meeting, the committee approved a stage 2 application for design of the new unified high school. Stage 2 is really related to programmatic planning and cost estimations for accountability in the planning process, and is by no means meant to reflect what the final design will look like, said officials. That will happen during stage 3.
If the committee is to go out for new funding, the deadline is Feb. 15, noted committee member Erin Dube.
While NEASC representatives have said they’re happy about the district’s plans for a new unified high school, that doesn’t change the fact that Shea students deserve to be in a facility that’s appropriate and conducive to learning, said officials.
School leaders must figure out what the future of the Shea building is after the unified high school is built, including a five-year and 10-year plan.
Interim Supt. Lisa Ramzi, answering committee member Jay Charbonneau’s question about previous suggestions on possible alternative funds, told the committee that there were some alternative options discussed, but if the school is to remain for educational purposes, they must use bond money as intended, and that’s for the repair of Shea.
Charbonneau also asked why there didn’t seem to be any progress since the committee asked for funding last November, and member Kim Grant said the difference is that they’re now working to get a plan in place for what Shea will be and identifying what needs to be done.
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