Barrington Town Council endorses need for school improvements

Immediate needs include roof at Barrington High School

Posted 9/23/21

The school department’s effort to examine future facility needs and address immediate health and safety deficiencies received the support of the Barrington Town Council earlier this …

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Barrington Town Council endorses need for school improvements

Immediate needs include roof at Barrington High School

Posted

The school department’s effort to examine future facility needs and address immediate health and safety deficiencies received the support of the Barrington Town Council earlier this month.

At the Sept. 13 meeting, members of the council voted unanimously to support the school district initiative — one school official called it a basic acknowledgement of the school department’s needs. 

Council members also voted in favor of signing the necessary documents required for a Stage 1 submission to the Rhode Island Department of Education. 

School leaders offered a brief presentation to the council, showcasing a facilities study on the school buildings which includes a series of health and safety improvements that require immediate attention.

That study also offers the framework for some significant changes in the district, including possible renovations to the town’s elementary schools or replacing the schools altogether. One plan also calls for Nayatt and Sowams schools to be eliminated and Hampden Meadows School and Primrose Hill to be completely rebuilt.

School officials, including Superintendent Michael Messore, spoke to members of the council about the facilities study. Mr. Messore said addressing the district’s immediate needs is crucial. He added that future work is also important because it will ensure that all students in the district are afforded the same opportunities to succeed. 

Mr. Messore said district leaders want to make sure all Barrington students are in the best possible learning environments. He also said that the process will include opportunities to educate the community on the district’s needs and get feedback from people in the community. 

A consultant hired by the school department shared details of the plan with council members also. She said Barrington schools were already experiencing overcrowding issues.

Immediate needs

The school facilities report details some of the “priority 1 and 2” deficiencies at local schools: 

• The roof at the high school and the BHS electrical systems 

• Mechanical systems, plumbing, interior millwork and casework, and technology systems at Hampden Meadows School

• Fire and life safety, mechanical systems, electrical systems, interior mill work and casework, technology, and ADA accessibility at Nayatt School

• Mechanical systems, ADA accessibility and other issues at Primrose Hill School and Sowams School

Here are the options

Following is a list of the new construction and renovation options included in the facilities report:

• Option 1: “Asset Protection” — Neighborhood school district lines and grade configuration remains unchanged; cost to repair work in exact configuration to “like new” condition; cost: $60-$70 million; cost to district with 35 percent reimbursement: $39-$45.5 million

• Option 2: “Program alignment” — Creates additions to each school to provide space for missing or undersized program spaces; renovations do not account for undersized classroom spaces; does not align with long-term educational vision; cost: $100-$110 million; cost to district with 45 percent reimbursement: $55-$60.5 million

• Option 3A: “Grades 1-5 schools, Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten at Sowams” — Creates additions to each school to provide space for missing or undersized programs; creates pre-kindergarten/kindergarten at Sowams School; renovations do not account for undersized classroom spaces; does not align with district’s long-term educational vision; cost: $100-$110 million; cost to district with 45 percent reimbursement: $55-$60.5 million

• Option 3B: “Grade K-5 schools, Pre-kindergarten at Primrose Hill” — Removes transition by creating K-5 schools; pre-kindergarten remains at Primrose Hill School; renovations do not account for undersized classroom spaces; does not align with long-term educational vision; cost: $105-$115 million; cost to district with 45 percent reimbursement: $58-$63 million

• Option 4: “Consolidation, close Nayatt School” — Neighborhood school district lines and grade configuration are updated; removes transition by creating K-5 schools, pre-kindergarten at Primrose Hill School; cost includes Nayatt demolition but not costs for rebuilding fields and park space there; renovations do not account for undersized classroom spaces; does not align with long-term educational vision; cost: $100-$110 million; cost to district with 52.5 percent reimbursement: $47.5-$52 million

• Option 5: “Targeted grade configuration” — Pre-kindergarten to Grade 2 at Sowams and Primrose Hill schools; Grades 3 to 5 at Hampden Meadows School and Nayatt School; aligns with district grade configuration goals; partially aligns with long-term educational vision; cost: $110-$120 million; cost to district with 45 percent reimbursement: $60.5-$66 million

• Option 6: “Newer and fewer” — Demolish all four elementary schools; new prekindergarten to Grade 2 at Primrose Hill site; new Grades 3 to 5 school at Hampden Meadows School site; most equitable solution as all children have the same experience regardless of their neighborhood; partially aligns with long-term education vision; cost: $120-$140 million; cost to district with 52.5 percent reimbursement: $59-$66 million

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