Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Approves $255 Million in School Construction Projects

Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Approval provides funding for facilities improvements at 17 schools across four school systems; North Providence and Woonsocket to construct new elementary schools

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday voted to approve nearly $255 million in new school construction projects across Rhode Island, allowing for educational enhancements, health and safety improvements, and the construction of four new schools. North Providence will construct three new elementary schools; Woonsocket will consolidate Coleman, Bernon Heights, and Globe Park elementary schools into one new, 21st century school.

“The Council’s approval of these wide-ranging and transformative school construction projects is an affirmation of my administration’s commitment to improving school facilities and student outcomes statewide,” said Governor Dan McKee. “We look forward to visiting these new and renovated schools where students and educators can thrive.”

President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio said, “Every child and every educator in Rhode Island deserves a safe, modern learning environment. In recent years, we have seen the many benefits of making long-overdue investments in school buildings across our state. These projects energize our communities and lay a strong foundation for our state’s future. This latest round of approvals will enable more cities and towns to replace aging and ailing facilities with classrooms and buildings equipped for success in the 21st century, including renovating three elementary schools in my hometown of North Providence: Whelan, Greystone and Centerdale.”

The Council voted to approve the following projects:  

  • Greene School: 1 school, 199 students  
  • Demolition and replacement through new construction of one classroom building; health and safety repairs to two classroom buildings 
  • North Providence: 6 schools, 2,671 students  
  • Construction of 3 new elementary schools, one addition at the high school and health and safety repairs at the middle schools 
  • West Warwick: 3 schools, 1,956 students  
  • Roof replacement and new media center at high school. New media center, HVAC control upgrades, carpet, and new elevator at two elementary schools 
  • Woonsocket: 7 schools, 5,690 students  
  • Construction of one new elementary school, renovations and repairs to support grade reconfiguration at existing elementary and middle schools, district-wide security improvements 
  • Total: 17 projects impacting 10,516 students  

“The Council is proud to approve additional school construction projects that will advance our mission of providing an excellent education to all students, regardless of zip code,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “These upgrades are long-awaited, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact the projects have not only on our students and educators but also our Rhode Island communities.”

"Investing in state-of-the-art learning environments is more than just constructing buildings; it's a profound commitment to fostering excellence in Rhode Island education,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “The Council’s approval paves the way for 21st-century schools where innovation flourishes and students' potential is unleashed. RIDE is proud to work alongside districts as they embrace the ‘newer and fewer’ strategy and support transformational work statewide.” 

Tuesday’s vote follows the Council's prior approvals of $880 million for 39 projects across 13 school systems. This makes for a total of $1.4 billion for 56 projects across 17 school systems. School construction projects in Rhode Island can be reimbursed partially by the state using funds from the 2018 and 2022 school construction bonds. The state’s share of these projects is determined by the community’s individual reimbursement rate. In total, the state’s share of the $255 million is $174 million.

Learn more about Rhode Island’s bold vision for school facilities in the School Building Authority’s Renewing the Dream report.