NEWPORT – The architects for the proposed new high school have unveiled a new concept plan that would locate the new building roughly where the current Rogers High School is, but a bit set back.
This is a big change from what had been proposed before.
The existing gymnasium would be renovated and would form part of the new high school, located near the center of the school. The existing Newport area technical and vocational center would be completely renovated and would be located at the far east of the new high school.
the S / L / A / M Collaborative, Inc., of Glastonbury, Connecticut, was chosen to complete the final design of a new Rogers during the so-called phase III of the process. Mark Rhoades, a director of the company, is the principal architect and architect Catherine Ellithorpe, also a director of the company, is the project manager.
They completely altered the schematic design and site location developed by architect Philip Conte of Studio JAED of Providence in 2019-2020 during the Stage II application process.
Studio JAED’s proposal and design was completed before voters approved the bond to pay for the new high school in November 2020. He had proposed to build a brand new high school on the Rogers campus where the current sports field is located. .
Previous reports:SLAM chosen to design new Rogers High School
Rhoades told the 22-member school construction committee this week, which includes city officials and community members, that Studio JAED’s proposal would result in a lot of expensive construction work. The site would be “split” with a high side and a low side, which would require construction on two elevations and blasting of rock outcrops, he said.
This would require a temporary relocation of the electric utilities and then their permanent location.
Since the current gymnasium is on the highest point of the Rogers campus, Rhoades suggested building around it. The presentation of the site plan Monday evening to the school construction committee surprised the members.
“You are building right where the high school is now,” said school committee chairman Raymond Gomes.
Not quite, Rhoades replied.
Earlier this year:Architects wanted for two Newport school projects
During the construction process, the current auditorium would be demolished, but with the exception of the gymnasium and the NACTC building, the rest of the high school would remain intact. Students could continue with classes until the new school was completed and opened for September 2024.
It’s hard to imagine, but construction on the new high school would continue west, from the gymnasium to the current main parking lot. A new three-story building section would be built parallel to Wickham Road and house all classrooms.
The tennis courts would stay where they are now, and the track and athletic field would be completely redone and stay where they are now.
Technical center, gymnasium would remain
Maintaining the NACTC building would allow the community to keep the automotive and cosmetology programs now located in the building, committee members said. These career programs are no longer recognized by the Rhode Island Department of Education, but there is a strong desire in the community to continue with them.
People in the auto repair industry say there is a continued need for qualified auto technicians, who can earn salaries in the order of $ 100,000. School superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain said RIDE is currently reviewing whether to recognize the program again.
“Everyone should have their car repaired and their hair done,” said former school committee chair Jo Eva Gaines, member of the school construction committee.
She said RIDE may also review its position on the cosmetology program, with a focus in a re-enacted program on “running your own business”.
Maintaining the NACTC building is still a proposal from the architects that requires the approval of the entire school construction committee and the seven-member school committee. There won’t be much time for deliberations as the full schematic design is due to be submitted to RIDE by mid-August.
There is a budget problem for an expanded high school
Voters approved a $ 106.33 million school bond to fund two school projects on November 3, 2020. The School Building Authority, part of RIDE, approved plans for a new high school that would cost $ 98,862,667 and an addition to Pell Elementary School that cost $ 7,472,300, according to a notification letter sent by SBA School Construction Coordinator Joseph da Silva in early May 2020.
This RIDE-approved allocation was for a new high school with 169,875 square feet of space, which just isn’t big enough for the high school programming the community wants, School Committee Vice-Chair Rebecca said. Bolan, who co-chairs the school construction committee with School committee member Louisa Boatwright.
She said the committee didn’t want to repeat what happened when the Pell School was built in 2011-2013. The school was not large enough for the increase in school enrollment, hence the need to add eight waiting classrooms.
The new SLAM proposal with the NACTC building totals 217,700 square feet, well above what was approved by RIDE, which has its say as it will pay 52% of all construction and interest costs. This new square footage is still less than the 238,450 square feet of the existing facilities.
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But the state will only pay for what has been approved, so the community will have to cover the cost of any expansion beyond it, said Joseph DeSanti of Downes Construction Co., the “owner’s project manager” overseeing the projects. school projects on behalf of the Municipal and School Service.
DeSanti, the firm’s program manager, and Kyle Lentini, the project manager, are involved in all of these discussions.
Bolan said the city will apply for a federal grant this month to cover some of the additional construction costs, which have yet to be calculated more precisely. She said there was a strong hope that the remainder of the additional costs would be paid for by private parties who have shown interest in the project.
RIDE supports these plans as long as no additional state money beyond what was approved in the bond is requested, Bolan said.
Revised plans will be presented at a public meeting
The revised proposal for a new high school will be presented to the public at a community meeting that will be scheduled soon, Bolan said. She hopes the meeting can be held in person, which she believes will be more informative to the public and allow for better discussion of the plan.
Gilbane Construction Co. of Providence is the contractor for the new Rogers. They plan to prepare the site in spring 2022, then build the new high school from summer 2022 and continue through winter 2023 until fall 2024.
Behan Bros. from Middletown is expected to complete the addition to Pell School by the end of summer 2022, so that it will be ready for students by September 2022.