CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Eden Park School opened its doors Saturday to those interested in seeing the newly renovated school.
For the past several years, Eyewitness News has been tracking the progress of refurbishing schools throughout the state.
As districts focus on bringing buildings into the 21st century, cities and towns are exploring new ways of educating children in a cost-effective manner.
Communities like Cranston are doing total renovations, gutting buildings and creating open classrooms filled with light, technology, and new furniture to make learning fun.
Nota-Masse said the entire project at Eden Park was designed with both teacher and student input.
Eden Park was built in 1951 and educates almost 300 students. The plan is to utilize every square inch of the building.
Nota-Masse calls Eden Park their model home.
The school’s principal Courtney Sevigny told Eyewitness News, she has heard positive feedback since the start of the school year.
“Parents seem to really love it,” Sevigny said. “Their students are coming home, they are excited and they are engaged.”
She said the staff loves the students’ new-found enthusiasm to attend school.
“A few parents have commented that it’s very easy to get their children off to school in the morning,” Sevigny said.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung was also in attendance Sunday. He said the new school is beautiful.
“This is just the beginning phase, the demonstration project,” he said.
Come next November, the city will ask voters if the city should spend more money on renovations to the schools.
“We are going to be putting out a bond for around $134-million to the voters of Cranston to support the next phase,” Fung said.
For now, Eden Park School will be a model for schools of the future.
Sevigny believes the new learning environment will bring her students academic success.
“Our teachers and students move flexibly throughout the space,” she said.”Throughout the day, for different subjects, and sometimes they [teachers] are sharing students.”
Nota-Masse said the $8.8 million project was funded with remaining money from previous bonds approved by Cranston voters.
She said totally renovating Eden Park was more cost-effective than building a new one.