Barrington Schools Superintendent Michael Messore was almost ready to start making changes to the kindergarten classrooms at Sowams, Nayatt and Primrose Hill Schools. With all-day kindergarten on its way in Barrington, the top school official knew that there was a lot of work that lay ahead.
But Mr. Messore put the brakes on the work recently, after noticing an up-tick in the student enrollment figures for next school year. Some of that increase might be due to the establishment of an all-day kindergarten program in a district that has long offered half-day. Mr. Messore thinks some of it might also be due to the real estate market.
“I’ve been watching the market the last couple of weeks and there is a lot of activity,” he said, adding that there’s a good chance more home sales means more families moving into Barrington.
Ian Barnacle, a manager at the Residential Properties office in Barrington, said Mr. Messore’s theory is spot-on.
“This has been a very busy spring in Barrington real estate, with houses selling faster than before,” said Mr. Barnacle. “Although there were more single family closings last-year-to-date vs. this year, it looks from the pendings like we will have closed more properties this year over last year by the end of June.
“I started my real estate career on the East Side of Providence, and it was amazing to me when I came to Barrington how positive the marketplace is in a town with excellent schools: people always want to move to Barrington.
“When you consider that the residential real estate tax rate in Barrington is similar to other comparable communities, we really shine. Barrington is a very special town, and our schools are an integral part of the mix.”
With the student enrollment projections changing rapidly, Mr. Messore decided to hold off on beginning the classroom reconfiguration process. The district has already spent weeks searching for additional kindergarten teachers to help with the expected swell.
“We’ve been looking at some very good teachers,” Mr. Messore said.
The district has already started making some changes in accordance with the health and safety upgrades. According to a progress information sheet from the main office, construction was scheduled to begin earlier this month at the high school — officials had approved hand rails for two stairways and ramps in the cafeteria, wood shop and exit door to the faculty parking lot. Later this month, work is scheduled to start at Nayatt, Sowams, Primrose Hill and Hampden Meadows Schools — that project calls for bathroom renovations at Nayatt and Primrose Hill, fire alarm upgrades and exterior ramps and hand rails at all the elementary schools, fire exit windows at Nayatt, Primrose Hill and Hampden Meadows, hand rails in stairways at Nayatt and Primrose Hill, and additional exit doors at Nayatt, Sowams and Primrose Hill.
Meanwhile, a request for qualifications for architect/engineering services for conceptual drawings for a new middle school building was recently approved. Following the RFQ would be a request for proposals for fee proposals.