Meeting is set for East Providence High School structural analysis

SLAM architectural firm will present its findings at March 27 meeting


EAST PROVIDENCE — The long awaited and much anticipated analysis of the East Providence High School structure will made be known to the public at a special session of the school committee to be held Monday night, March 27, in city hall at 7 p.m.

The architectural firm SLAM will offer its findings at the meeting. The presentation is expected to last between 45 minutes to an hour. The company was hired following a joint Request For Proposal co-issued by the city and the school department late last year.

Asked by Ward 4 committee member Jessica Beauchaine about what exactly the analysis will consist of, district facilities director Tony Feola said at a meeting of the board on Monday, March 20, it is a comprehensive review of both the six-decade-old building’s current structural state as well as its feasibility as an educational tool.

Mr. Feola said the report will detail what the cost of either replacing or refurbishing the school will be, including its electrical and plumbing systems. It will also consider what the school’s learning capabilities are, such as are its classrooms either too big or too small, if additional learning instruments can be added, etc.

No details of the SLAM analysis were discussed March 20, but members of the committee and the administration were in possession of the assessment that will be shared next week.

Ward 3 committee member Nate Cahoon, who is the chairman of a joint buildings subcommittee composed of elected and administrative officials as well as members of the public at large, led the discussion at the March 20 meeting. While the SLAM report will be formally presented next week, Mr. Cahoon said it was likely once the details are released most would agree a new school should probably be built.

Ward 2 committee member Tony Ferreira, though not signaling his commitment to either replacing or refurbishing the existing building, said it was incumbent upon the committee to make the process as transparent as possible.

Noting the millions spent on the high school in recent years just to keep it viable and up to code, including the addition built in 1999, he said, “A lot of my tax dollars have gone into that building.” He added many senior citizens may be reluctant to see their taxes go up as a result of having to construct a new high school.

At-Large member Joel Monteiro said all city leaders should be behind the committee’s efforts to once and for all make a decision on the status of the high school.

“The economic team with the city should be spearheading this,” Mr. Monteiro said. “Investing in a state-of-the-art high school will only increase the influx of working families.”

Ms. Beauchaine added, alluding to the gravity of the SLAM findings, “Three sentences out of the summary will scare you.”

Also at the suggestion of Ms. Beauchaine, superintendent Kathryn Crowley agreed to have the district create a website detailing specifics to the buildings subcommittee and the proposals it's considering. Ms. Beauchaine said Barrington, which just last week approved the construction of a new middle school, had done the same during its process.

The March 27 meeting is open to the public. It will include a question and answer/comment section.


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