By ALEX MALM Since September the Warwick School Department Administration building has been the temporary home of Sherman Elementary School after significant levels of mold were discovered inside Sherman School. Now it is likely that students won't
Since September the Warwick School Department Administration building has been the temporary home of Sherman Elementary School after significant levels of mold were discovered inside Sherman School.
Now it is likely that students won’t return to Sherman until after Christmas break.
In an interview Tuesday Director of Construction and Capital projects Steve Gothberg explained that aside from mitigating the mold issues it was decided to do as much of the planned renovation work as possible while the building is closed.
The original plan was to install an HVAC system, do any necessary ADA improvements, install new exterior doors and pave the parking lot in addition to the abatement projects. Those projects are being financed with bond funds.
Once it was determined that the mold was taken care of and it was safe to enter the school in November more mold was discovered behind bookshelves and behind walls.
A decision was made then to remove any other mold in the building. Superintendent Lynn Dambruch said that the Rhode Island Department of Health encouraged them to abate all of it while the building was still closed.
With the building closed and a lot of furniture and books that needed to be removed, it was decided to complete other projects in the school.
Gothberg said contractors would remove and replace it.
It's in rough shape, said Gothberg.
In addition, Gothberg said the plan is to put up new ceiling tiles throughout the building, along with putting in new sinks and cabinets in rooms. He said they will also be removing chalk boards and putting up white boards. They also plan on adding a new electrical service, and replacing doors in classrooms.
With the new items added, Gothberg said that new designs are being made. He said they would go out to bid for the work in March. He said in the worst case scenario the material needed to complete the work would be ordered by mid April to May.
With projects in mind Gothberg and the Administration had to find a way to fund it.
Gothberg explained because the department is going ahead with hopes of building two new high schools, the Rhode Island Department of Education wouldn’t approve bond funds to be used for making renovations to Pilgrim and Toll Gate.
Gothberg said some bond funds allocated for Toll Gate would be budgeted for the additional Sherman projects.
Gothberg said the District needs RIDE approval to reallocate funds earmarked for Toll Gate. He said that its okay to move bond funds from one project to another if its within the same school, however if its being used in a different school the memorandum of understanding with RIDE needs to be amended.
If the supply chain improves Gotherg said there’s a chance of reopening the school during Thanksgiving break. A more realistic scenario is that it will take place during Christmas break. He said that they will need about a week to move everything from the former Gorton School where they are currently located to Sherman, and they want to do it when there isn’t school going on.
In total the renovations will cost between $6 million and $7 million.
Dambruch said a parents forum was held Feb. 15 to explain the new design and the timeline, and there was also a meeting with the teachers.
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