A public tour of Rogers High School is scheduled for Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. to see firsthand the condition of the facility.
Buildings in every district in the state get a failing grade in Rhode Island’s first-ever statewide, independent study of public school facilities. The Rhode Island Department of Education’s 2017 State of Rhode Island Schoolhouses report forecasts $627.5 million in high-priority construction and repairs needed to keep students and teachers warm, safe, and dry in their classrooms. The statewide cost to bring all school buildings into ideal condition is estimated at $2.2 billion.
Schools in Newport were visited three times during the Statewide Facilities Assessment by teams of specialists in March of 2016. The report, which provides LEA summary findings for the statewide assessment program, states Rogers High School, Thompson Middle School, and Pell Elementary School have the greatest combined 5-year need.
Rogers High School, which is one of the 10 worst campuses out of the 306 surveyed in RI, reportedly has a combined 5-year need of $51,435,651. Thompson Middle School’s combine 5-year need is reportedly $5,552,904, while Pell Elementary School is $2,736,596.
The current deficiencies for Newport Public Schools total $42,454,251, with 49.3% categorized as Priority 2 and another 25.5% as Priority 3. The building systems with the highest current deficiency costs are Mechanical and Exterior. The projected life-cycle need in Years 1 through 5 is $17,270,900. It is anticipated that the majority of the need will occur in Year 5. School(s) with the greatest need are represented in the adjacent table and makeup 100.0% of the combined 5-Year need at Newport.
The tour will begin at the Rogers High School Cafeteria. Input is needed from parents, students, teachers, community members, and professionals regarding facility needs at Rogers High School and throughout the district. Based on the RI School Building Task Force Report and the State of RI Schoolhouses Report, goals have been established for all schools to be warm, safe, and dry; have 21st century learning environments; and for every district to see meaningful improvements to the conditions of their public school buildings.
Newport has two challenges facing the community now. Rogers High School was designated as a candidate for replacement by the School Building Task Force. The condition of the building requires serious consideration from the public on construction of a new school building and its location. “I don’t think the question is are we going to build a new school,” School Committee Chair David Hanos said. “I think it’s pretty obvious, and anyone with fiscal responsibility would say it’s much smarter to build a new school rather than trying to improve the one we have. The real question is, where are we going to build a new school?”
Additionally, due to the growing population, Pell Elementary School does not presently meet space needs and increases in enrollment at the Newport Area Career & Technical Center require additional space which is currently occupied by district Administrative Offices. Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain stated that “now is the time for all of us to come together as a community and create a school system that is state of the art and ready to meet today’s learners. A strong school system builds a strong community”.
The School Committee and Chairman Hanos encourage community members to attend the tour. After the building tour, community members that are interested in serving on the School Building Committee or want to learn more on how to be involved will meet in Room 924 at the Newport Area Career & Technical Center Building to receive information on process and timelines. If you are interested and unable to attend this meeting, please contact Cathy Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.