PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — After a week-long delay, school bells will ring Tuesday for the first day of school at an elementary school in Pawtucket.
Classes at Henry J. Winters Elementary School were pushed back seven days due to “a number of health and safety items that still need[ed] to be addressed.”
The school committee cited a failed backup fire alarm battery, which would ensure that the fire alarm still worked in the event of a power outage, for the delay.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said the battery has since been reprogrammed and retested and is now up to code.
12 News got a first look at the $49 million facility on Monday, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Grebien said this was an effort that started many years ago to bring a new era of education to the city. He hopes there are more projects like this on the horizon, he added.
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“One of the big challenges we’re going to ask of the voters in November, we’re going out to the voters for another $330 million request for bond approval to renovate, I’m sorry, to build, to take out two high schools. And whether we do a unified high school, a unified campus,” Grebien said.
The elementary school was first demolished back in May 2020. Students had been learning inside the Pawtucket School Annex on Central Avenue ever since.
Although the school is opening on Tuesday, the gym and kitchen are still not operable.
“The school administration has worked with their contractor to bring the food in so the food will be brought in whether it’s cold sandwiches, it won’t be hot food, but they’ll make sure they’re in compliance,” Grebien said. “They’ve worked that out, the contractor has the time over the next few weeks to finish the kitchen I think they’re waiting on parts. Like everyone else, they’ve had supply chain issues.”
Winman Middle School in Warwick is also renovating its school. The director of construction there says the school will be getting $13 million in renovation, something that’s been in the works for two years.