By ALEX MALM
Steve Gothberg, school Director of Construction and Capital Projects said Tuesday he is confident RIDE will approve the city’s application to build two new Warwick high …
By ALEX MALM
Steve Gotherg, school Director of Construction and Capital Projects said Tuesday he is confident RIDE will approve the city’s application to build two new Warwick high schools.
But earlier in the day Mayor Frank Picozzi said he isn’t sold on the idea of moving the $350 million bond to the ballot this fall.
“I’m not sure it's a good idea to put it on the ballot right now,” said Picozzi. “I’m not sure.”
His concern is the cost, questioning with supply chain issues and inflation if $350 million is going to be enough to build new Pilgrim and Toll Gate High Schools.
“We don’t even know if that is realistic until we start building,” said Picozzi.
Noting mixed reactions to the new schools, Picozzi also wonders if the bond issue would gain voter approval.
“You might risk it not passing this year. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have kids in school,” said Picozzi. “I couldn’t tell you one way or another and I’m really in touch with people. I could see it going either way.
Under the guidelines school districts have five years from the time their application is approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education to complete the project to receive reimbursements from the state.
In the case for Warwick, if the application is approved in May the district would have five years starting Dec. 31 to complete the project.
Gothberg said that if the project is delayed then he doesn’t think there is enough time to complete the project. He said that it takes about a year for the final design to be completed, about two years to build new schools, six months to tear the old schools down and the rest of the time to building new athletic fields and other site improvements that can’t be done until the old schools are torn down.
Gothberg said that any delays could be “catastrophic.”
“In my opinion it would essentially shut it down,” he said.
Gothberg doubts costs would go down if the project is delayed.
“I don’t see things getting better,” said Gothberg.
The district originally sought approval from RIDE to renovate the two schools but last year the application was rejected, and the district was told they wouldn’t be provided any reimbursements for renovating them.
“New schools were our plan b,” said Gothberg.
Picozzi said that if the Council and General Assembly approve the bond going to the ballot, he would support it going to the ballot.