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The new year has begun and there are exciting things happening within the Newport School System and the City of Newport!  Thanks to the overwhelming support of Newport voters, the new Rogers High School and expansion to the Pell Elementary School projects are underway.

The official School Building Committee (SBC), a requirement of the Rhode Island Department of Education, is a 22-member team of School, City and Community members that has been very busy. We are very fortunate that each SBC member brings unique qualifications, expertise and perspectives ensuring this is a community effort, so all voices are heard. It is very important we stay on top of the budget and the timeline while ensuring quality facilities to meet our educational plans. SBC members are committing significant time and effort to ensure we accomplish these goals and their commitment is greatly appreciated.

Here is a brief recap on what this amazing team has already accomplished. On December 22 the Newport School Committee supported the SBC recommendation and approved the hiring of Downes Construction Company as Newport’s OPM (Owner’s Project Manager).  We welcome Mike MacDonald and Joe DeSanti from the Downes Company and their crew. They will be guiding us during the duration of these two projects. Schedules have already been set up to keep our projects on track and the SBC has already issued a Design Build Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Pell building addition. The RHS Architect/Engineering Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and the RHS Construction Manager at Risk Request for Proposal (RFP) are scheduled for release this week. Once reviews and interviews of the submissions have been completed, the SBC will make recommendations to the School Committee for approval. Contract negotiations will then be completed by this spring.

This is a historic time for our community. As Co-Chairs we would like to thank the voters of Newport once again for this exciting opportunity to move our schools forward. We want you to know we take this responsibility very seriously and will do our best to serve you and our children. We will be keeping the community informed via the press, our website and public meetings.  Stay tuned as there will be a lot happening and we will make every effort to keep you “in the loop” !

Becky Bolan & Louisa Boatwright
Co-Chairs of School Building Committee

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