Voters in both Bristol and Warren overwhelmingly approved a $200M bond initiative to build a new Mt. Hope High School and make improvements to other buildings on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Voters in Bristol and Warren overwhelmingly approved a school construction bond worth up to $200 million during Tuesday’s Special Election.
At the time of this writing, unofficial results from the three polling locations in Bristol showed that 2,622 voters approved of the bond, versus 1,337 that rejected it, a margin of 66.2% in favor to 33.8% against.
The numbers showed similarly from Warren’s two polling centers, where voters approved the bond by a margin of 1,254 to 670 (65.2% in favor to 34.8% against).
“I am so excited for our students and for our towns,” said Superintendent Ana Riley on Tuesday evening. “It's really so validating to know that the margin was so large, and it's just a real acknowledgment of the need and that people could see the vision of what we want for our kids.”
“The people of Bristol and Warren both are trusting us with this once in a lifetime investment in our kids,” said School Committee Chairperson Nicky Piper. “And what a message that sends to our kids; that they deserve better and are worth better.”
Piper said that she had been hoping the results would be definitive, indicative that a sizable majority of people in both communities were buying into the need for better facilities to foster a better educational environment for students, and hopefully lead to better outcomes and opportunities.
“For me it’s not just about the percentage of votes in favor, but the number of people who showed up,” she said. “It showed that people really did listen and become involved in this process.”
Riley said that now that voter approval has been secured, they now await the Rhode Island Department of Education’s (RIDE) approval of their Stage 2 application, which should come by mid-December.
“As soon as they approve, it's time to hire a construction manager and start working on the next steps. This whole next year will be about design and community engagement,” she said. “I keep telling our high school students, you will help design the new building.”
With a deadline of June 30, 2028 to have all projects within the bond scope underway, the district’s work is certainly far from complete.
“Now the real work starts,” Piper said. “We continue to work with RIDE to get max reimbursement and work on the design phase. Our eyes will still be laser focused on fiscal responsibility and student outcomes. A lot of work is definitely ahead of us, but tonight is something we should be proud of.”