Barrington Middle School project could earn 'bonuses'

Project on track to break ground in March

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/3/18

The Barrington School Committee recently sent a letter to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, asking that "bonuses" be extended to school construction projects that were approved within the last …

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Barrington Middle School project could earn 'bonuses'

Project on track to break ground in March

Posted

The Barrington School Committee recently sent a letter to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, asking that "bonuses" be extended to school construction projects that were approved within the last five years, but as of Dec. 31, 2017 had not broken ground.

The bonuses are part of the state's Schoolhouse Report, which is calling for wide-ranging improvements to all of Rhode Island's public schools. The report was first released in September and estimated that $2.2 billion was needed to bring all of the state's schools up to "ideal operational condition." 

The report included bonuses that would reportedly be given to projects that achieve certain benchmarks — for example, a greater reimbursement might be given to a school project that includes greater energy efficiency.

Modifications to the report include extending the bonuses to "… those projects that were previously approved within the last five years, but have not yet broken ground."

The school committee's letter asks that the language of the report be changed slightly to extend bonuses that were approved within the last five years but have not broken ground "as of Dec. 31, 2017."

The committee's letter further stated that the change "will mitigate concerns that approved projects might not move forward until legislation is approved in order to yield an additional bonus for the project."

If the change is incorporated into the report, Barrington might stand to receive a greater level of financial reimbursement for the middle school construction project, although Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore cautioned: "We're not really sure what the bonuses will look like."

Jeff Brenner, a member of the Barrington Middle School building committee, said the local project already includes many of the efficiencies that the state is looking to reward.

"We've been ahead of the curve for the last six years," said Mr. Brenner. "We've had a volunteer committee for the last six years thinking about this… we were trying to stay ahead of the wave."

Mr. Brenner said plans for the new Barrington Middle School include the use of energy efficient materials and infrastructure supporting the future installation of solar panels. 

"We have definitely positioned the town to receive as much reimbursement from the state as possible," he said. 

Currently, Barrington is in line to receive 35 percent reimbursement from the state on the project. 

Project is on schedule

Mr. Brenner said the Barrington Middle School construction project is on track to break ground in March.

"We are definitely on schedule," he said. "Nothing has happened to lead anyone to believe that we're off schedule."

Requests for proposal documents are slated to go out soon, and, once the responses are received, Barrington officials will have to select a contractor to handle the construction.

The new middle school is scheduled to be completed by the end of August or beginning of September, 2019. 

"That's when the school is scheduled to open," added Mr. Brenner.

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