BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — People around Rhode Island will be voting next month on whether their city or town should borrow money to fund various school construction projects.
In the Bristol Warren Regional School District, school committee chair Nicky Piper tells 12 News that if their bond referendum is approved, it would allow the district to borrow up to $200 million to build a new high school and renovate other school buildings.
Mt. Hope High School needs to be completely rebuilt, according to Piper, who showed us renderings of the preliminary design.
“None of this is just for shiny new objects. It’s work that needs to be done for student safety and also for educational purposes,” Piper said.
“A full 21st century learning facility with career and technical education spaces, new athletic and performing arts facilities, and much more secure,” she added.
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Flooding is a constant problem at Mt. Hope, Piper said, so the new building would be built on the current site, but outside the flood zone. A stormwater management system would also be installed.
As for the other schools in the district, Piper said the plan would be to close Guiteras Elementary School and renovate the other existing buildings.
“Mechanical, engineering, plumbing are issues that need to be addressed in all of the schools,” she explained. “Other exterior things, roofs, that kind of thing. Some landscaping, not just for aesthetic reasons, but it’s also for student safety.”
Piper assured taxpayers that approving the bond would lessen the financial burden, adding that the district will be trying to take advantage of bonuses from the state.
“If we act before the end of June of next year, we are eligible for up to another 20%, so that would get us up to a full 83% reimbursement from the state,” Piper said. “By doing it now, we can get these extra reimbursements and get this work done in one fell swoop.”
For the bond referendum to pass, it’ll need to win support from a majority of voters between the two towns.
Should that happen, the project would get underway next January and the goal is to have it finished by summer 2028.
Early voting is already underway, and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.