Archived: Building Committee Informational Meeting – November 16, 2017

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Informational meeting for discussion of the proposal to build a new high school for East Providence
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:00 p.m., East Providence High School
All parents, taxpayers and concerned citizens are welcome

You’ve probably heard the rumors…

The East Providence School District is looking at East Providence High School.  The City Council has commissioned a study of the School.  The School District commissioned an additional study.  The State Department of Education, in its efforts to determine the status of all the State’s schools, also commissioned a study which included the High School.

What did all of these studies find?

East Providence High School is old.  It was built in 1952 and opened when Harry S. Truman was President.  In the sixty five years since, much in the world has changed – education being no exception.  With respect to education, the existing building is no longer able to support the technology and other developments in education which require far more flexibility than the building is capable of supporting.  In terms of the building itself, as one consultant observed, it is running on a “wing and a prayer.”  The heating and electrical systems are original to the building – sixty five years old.  Parts are no longer available to make repairs.

Water pipes, due to the years of handling East Providence water prior to the switch to Scituate Reservoir water, have build-ups within the pipes that severely restrict the flow.  Conversely, the sewage pipes have been corroding from within for all these years and present a serious potential of leaking hazardous waste into the building.  Although the District has been able to provide all students with computers while they are in school, the High School structure makes it difficult to keep all of the computers connected to the Internet.

What to do?

It is the opinion of all the engineers, architects and education consultants who have analyzed the building that many of the building shortcomings cannot be overcome through renovations.  The recommended solution is to replace the aging structure with one designed for today’s educational needs and incorporating technologies for both computing and energy savings.

During the assessment of the High School, a Providence Sunday Journal article from 1952 was found announcing the opening of the new, “state of the art” East Providence High School for which “no expense had been spared.”  That money was well spent in that thousands of East Providence students have passed through the School’s halls since then and, although most buildings are built with an anticipated fifty year expected life, East Providence High is still graduating students sixty five years later.  But, the building is tired and needs to be replaced and that is what the Building Committee, convened to listen to the recommendations of the experts, is recommending.

What might it cost?

Right now we do not know because a completed design for a new school has not been prepared.  What we do know, East Providence has an opportunity for reimbursement from the State for approximately 56% of the costs associated with building a new facility.  For anyone following the news on the state of Rhode Island’s school buildings, there is going to be a tremendous demand for new buildings and renovations over the next several years.  We believe we have a much greater chance of seeing a reimbursement now because we have one of the first requests being submitted to the Department of Education.  We are not sure East Providence will have as high a priority after other districts with equally dire needs begin to make requests.

Want to know more?

The East Providence High School Building Committee is inviting all interested citizens – parents, taxpayers and anyone else to an informational meeting on Thursday, November 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Auditorium to hear preliminary information on the issues with the current building and the opportunities a new building would provide.  There will be ample opportunity for any questions you have.

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