WARWICK, RI — The Warwick City Council Wednesday night approved $12.8 million in school repair bond releases of funds continuing school rehabilitation projects that have been underway for the past two years.
The $8.9 million is part of the $40 million bond Warwick voters approved in November 2018 to improve the city’s school buildings. Warwick School Building Committee Chair Anthony Ferrucci presented the council with the different types of projects they anticipate doing from the summer of 2021 to spring of 2022 with the first $8.9M request, part of the third release from that bond.
“There are 101 different school rehabilitation projects in the total bond request,” Ferrucci said. “So far, these funds have provided for 47 completed projects of the 101 anticipated.” These projects include all the fire alarm systems in the buildings (except the two under construction), ADA compliance, playgrounds and seven roofs. None of the projects have included mechanicals, according to Ferrucci. Additionally, seven playgrounds will be completed in 2021 and 40 have been completed to date.
Wednesday night’s request for $8.9 million is for 35 more projects beginning July 1. It includes:
- $7,303,004 for actual projects going out to bid in February and March
- $5,242 for architecture and engineering fees to be utilized for projects this summer
- $1,6442 for engineering and design fees for projects anticipated for the summer of 2022 into spring 2023.
Once these projects are completed, $15 million will remain for the following two years. Of that, $10.7 million is targeted for two projects: The heating and HVAC system at the Winman Middle School ($8.3 million) and HVAC maintenance and repairs at Toll Gate High School at $2 million.
“I’d like to congratulate the committee, the building committee for the work you’ve all done on this for the amount of time you’ve put into this,” Councilman Ed Ladouceur said. “The time is incredible … You’ve certainly put in the effort for that and you’ve done a good job.”
When asked if the projects so far have been coming in over budget, Ferrucci said they did come in slightly over the construction budget but that fits within the contingencies they have allowed. “We have 80,0000 on an $8 million project contingency,” he said. “We consider that on budget.”
“We are a couple of years into these bonds and this has just been a tremendous job done to keep all of this within budget. To keep this all on track with the timelines,” said Councilman Jeremy Rix. “These tens of millions of dollars — it’s a tremendous undertaking and to see this kind of progress I think we all know the condition that our school buildings are in and making sure this money is going as far as it is to do the most good to get our school buildings in the best shape we can with these limited resources.”
City Council Releases $3.9 Million in Second Bond
Wednesday night city councilors also unanimously voted to release $3,997,375 of the $56 million bond approved by voters in November 2020 for school repairs.
Ferrucci said initially they were seeking to ask for the release for engineering and design fees to go out to bid next year for the 18 projects slated for the summer of 2022. But they did come across an issue that needs to be addressed: the roof at the Holliman Elementary School is in critical condition. The cost of the roof replacement is $1,371,600.
Superintendent Dr. Phil Thornton pointed out a couple of things with this second bond he thought residents would find exciting.
“We are dealing with air quality with mechanical and modern HVAC systems in our schools,” Thornton said. “Secondly everyone can appreciate we are tackling windows as you know in many schools in Warwick the windows over time have degraded. I think seeing modern, efficient windows in our school is a big, big improvement.”
Council Seeks Direction on COVID-19 Vaccine Plans
Warwick City Council members are asking the Rhode Island Department of Health to provide them direction and guidance on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to its residents.
Councilman Ed Ladouceur said Wednesday night he’s been receiving several calls from constituents concerned with not being able to get answers as to where and when they can get the vaccine.
“We need guidance on this,” Ladouceur said. “The Department of Health needs to offer us direction and guidance on where our constituents can get this COVID shot: how, when and where. Hopefully, with the city of Warwick taking the lead on this thing, that type of guidance will be provided. Once again that was the reasoning behind this. Our citizens need to get vaccinated. The vaccinations are here and we need to get it done much sooner than later.”
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