Pilgrim undergoing renovations ahead of Warwick school consolidation

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Extensive million-dollar renovations are underway at Warwick’s Pilgrim High School.

It’s summer vacation – but the school is bustling with activity as workers rally to complete $3.35 million worth of renovations.

Crews are tearing up the auditorium stage to make way for a new platform. Come fall, the space will have new chairs, lighting and curtains.

“A lot of great things happening this summer at the school,” said Warwick School Superintendent Phil Thornton.

This school year, Pilgrim will have hundreds of additional students to accommodate due to the ongoing school consolidation plans. The city is downsizing from three high and middle schools to two.

“Closing is Aldrich Junior High and Gorton Junior High and Vets High School,” Thornton said. “So next year, you’ll have two high schools: Toll Gate High School and Pilgrim High School, and you have two junior highs, you have Vets Junior High and Winman Junior High.”

The closing of Warwick Vets means most of those students will be transferred to Pilgrim. Officials say they hope giving the school a facelift will leave a good impression on the community.

When students arrive, they’ll find a new cafeteria ceiling, new bathroom fixtures, and a gym lobby free of asbestos.

“We have the football field being redone with the help of the city…the school entry way, the painting inside the school,” Thornton said.

About 40% of Warwick’s classrooms are empty because of declining enrollment. Officials said consolidation will solve that problem – and save money.

“It just makes sense to match the resources with the student population,” Thornton added.

School officials say they are hoping all renovations will be complete in time for the new school year. Freshman begin on August 31 and all other students start September 1.

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