NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Back to school doesn’t just mean brand new school supplies for some elementary school students in North Providence.
Students at James L. McGuire and Stephen Olney Elementary Schools also have brand-new buildings to return to Thursday.
Eyewitness News toured McGuire Elementary – located off Central Avenue – with Principal Bruce Butler and Mayor Charles Lombardi Wednesday night.
Butler said more than 370 kids will fill the halls and classrooms of the state-of-the-art building.
“I mean, how could you not want to come to school here?” Lombardi said while walking the halls.
Lombardi said the new school building was a project two years in the making, and it’s all thanks to voters in town who approved a $75 million bond back in 2016.
“It’s something that needed to be done, and we had the courage to address it,” Lombardi said. “We could have waited and kicked the can down the road. I think it was the right thing for us to do and the people supported it.”
Lombardi said while both McGuire and Stephen Olney Elementary Schools were completely rebuilt using that bond money, the rest of it was also used to fund health and safety improvements in all of the town’s other school buildings.
Butler calls it a worthy investment.
“This is where we are going to put our money and emphasis,” he said.
Butler said he is proud to walk the halls of the new McGuire Elementary, and he hopes the students are, too.
“I want them to be in awe of the building,” he said. “I want them to be motivated, energized, and ready to learn. Like I said, this is what it’s all about.”