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New Warwick High Schools Build Begins in Late 2024

[CREDIT: WP composite] A $350M new high schools project will begin in late 2024. Construction manager interviews for the project will be held the week of April 1.

[CREDIT: WP composite] A $350M new high schools project will begin in late 2024. Construction manager interviews for the project will be held the week of April 1.
[CREDIT: WP composite] A $350M new high schools project will begin in late 2024. Construction manager interviews for the project will be held the week of April 1.
WARWICK, RI — The new Warwick High Schools construction projects will start in November or December, said Chris Spiegel, Senior Project Manager for Left Field Project Management during Tuesday’s Warwick School Committee meeting.

Interviews for a construction manager on the project will be held the week of April 1. The construction manager will be presented to the school committee on April 9. 

In November 2022, voters approved a $350 million bond to pay for the project. The total cost of Pilgrim is $175 million. The total cost of Toll Gate is $174.5 million. Saccoccio and Associates will be working on the design for Toll Gate. Pilgrim will be designed by Saam Architecture. Gothberg noted they will use the “base model” although the designs will focus on “individuality” and “equity.”

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) may reimburse the district for the construction of the new high schools for $314 million out of the $350 million bond instead of $300 million as originally anticipated, said Stephen Gothberg, Director of Buildings and Grounds.

Spiegel noted there were “unprecedented lead times” regarding certain items needed for construction. Transformers can take up to a year to obtain. Generators can take up to two years to obtain. Left Field will work on “early release packages.”

“These early release packages will allow the construction manager to take the risk of ordering items prior to construction starting so these items are ready and waiting for us by the time construction starts,” Spiegel added.

“I think we’re going to have the best schools in Rhode Island,” said committee member Leah Hazelwood.

Toll Gate flooding update

Gothberg, speaking on behalf of Kevin Oliver, the Director of Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations, outlined flooding damage sustained at Toll Gate High School last month.

A frozen heating coil, the result of a mechanical failure, caused the flooding, he said.

“15 classrooms, a corridor, and office space were affected,” Gothberg said. “Three of these classrooms were considered a total loss and everything that could not be salvaged had to be disposed of. There was roughly 20,000 square feet of damage done to flooring and ceilings.”

“The extremely hot water damaged the floor tiles, as well as the ceiling,” said Superintendent Lynn Dambruch. “When we replaced the floor tiles, asbestos was found so abatement projects had to take place.” 

Two days later, a transformer failed, filling the library and adjacent classrooms with smoke.

“All the classrooms affected by the smoke have had their contents removed and are being stored until a decision can be made by our insurance provider, if the contents will be cleaned or replaced,” Gothberg said.

The library has been sealed off with its contents remaining inside waiting for the same decision from the district’s insurance provider. 

As of March 10, all the floors and ceilings have been replaced and all affected classrooms and offices were cleaned and sanitized.

Students and staff returned to Toll Gate on March 11 after two weeks. Dambruch thanked the school administration and students for doing their best despite the difficulties.

“Teaching and learning still remained a priority and happened even though it was distance learning,” Dambruch added. 

Committee Chair Shaun Galligan praised Oliver and his team for their work, as well as Dambruch and Assistant Superintendent William McCaffrey for keeping the committee informed about the status of the repairs.

The Committee also approved the first read of the Staff/Student Relations policy. It reads: “All staff members of the school department shall share responsibility for supervising the behavior of students. All employees shall share in the responsibility for seeing that students meet the standards of conduct, which have been or may hereafter be established by the School Committee or its agents.”

“Each school shall establish its own system for carrying out the supervisory responsibilities within the building, and building principals shall provide direction to staff members with respect to appropriate supervisory practices in order to ensure the safe and orderly operation of each school day.”

“All pupils shall conduct themselves in a respectable and orderly manner while in the school building, on the school grounds, and while traveling to and from school.”

The full March 12 Warwick School Committee meeting can be viewed on the committee’s YouTube page.

Joe Siegel
Author: Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel is a regular contributing writer for WarwickPost.com. His reporting has appeared in The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro and EDGE.

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