To the editor:
Rhode Island College is on the ballot this November as a referendum question, which will be listed below the candidates for political offices.
Question #3 on the ballot — if approved — will provide $50 million in much-needed renovation-construction funds for three of the college’s aged buildings. By voting yes on this question you will be contributing to providing a quality education for thousands of Rhode Islanders, as well as providing much needed construction work.
Two of RIC’s oldest and the largest classroom buildings — where all 8,000 students take one or more classes — will receive $44 million in funding for renovation and modernization. The buildings will not only become technologically appropriate for teaching, but they will also become safer, more energy efficient and appropriate for students with special physical needs.
The remaining $6 million will support a renovation, upgrade and expansion of the 8,000 square feet of Fogarty Life Science devoted to nursing. Right now the burgeoning nursing and allied health programs with a combined total of nearly 1,400 students has only one classroom and two labs dedicated to the use of nursing and allied health. This modest expansion would not preclude the later building of a RIC-URI nursing building.
Who will be served? The future nurses, teachers, social workers, artists, managers, lawyers, and other leaders in Rhode Island that attend Rhode Island College. In all, 86 percent of RIC students are Rhode Islanders at the undergraduate level, and 92 percent at the graduate level. In addition, the construction trades will also be served by adding hundreds of jobs for Rhode Islanders.
As a member of the RIC faculty, I am proud to serve our students. I believe investments in higher education are among the smartest investments we can make, ones that will provide long-term payoffs for us and for our children. I urge fellow East Bay residents to join me in supporting this measure.
Please vote YES on November 6 on Question 3.