RI begins rebuilding schools after voters approve $250 million repair bond

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It looks like Gov. Gina Raimondo’s vision of saving local schools will finally come to fruition.

Rhode Islanders approved a $250 million school repair bond which would not only renovate existing school buildings, but also fund the construction of new ones.

“This is a big first step in what will be a multi-year process to get these buildings back into good shape,” General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who led a task force aimed at rebuilding schools across the state, said.

The money will be distributed to cities and towns to help fund any repairs needed to their school buildings. With the passage of the bond, voters also approved building a new high school in East Providence.

“They so desperately deserve a new high school based on the condition of the old high school,” East Providence Superintendent Kathryn Crowley said.

Eyewitness News took a tour of East Providence High School in December 2017, where the Rhode Island School Building Task Force detailed the crumbling infrastructure of the building, which was built in 1952.

Crowley said the money will help immensely with the project. She said the new high school will be built on the current fields, then the old high school will be demolished and replaced with brand new fields. Crowley said the new high school will be completed within the next three years.

East Providence is one small piece of a larger goal to repair and replace schools across Rhode Island. The $250 million bond is part of a larger billion-dollar school infrastructure plan that will take place over the next decade.

“In the next several weeks, the school districts will be given a road map for how to apply for these funds and on what basis they will be awarded,” Magaziner said.

Magaziner said officials have already been in touch with several communities on how they can apply for the money to repair school buildings.

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