EAST PROVIDENCE — The new East Providence High School project, now just about three years in the making, is moving ever so closer to full completion as the official turn-over date approaches …
EAST PROVIDENCE — The new East Providence High School project, now just about three years in the making, is moving ever so closer to full completion as the official turn-over date approaches later this summer.
At-Large member Joel Monteiro, who doubles as co-chair of the new EPHS Building Committee along with his colleague from Ward 3 on the City Council Nate Cahoon, provided a monthly update to his peers on the School Committee at the body’s June meeting last week.
Monteiro said the endeavor closed the previous month at 93.3 percent complete based on work done in place. “Punch list,” or review of finished work, items have been going on throughout the last nine months since the facility opened and will be “ramping up,” he said, through the summer months as official “ownership” of the building is transferred to the district from lead contractor Gilbane in the waning days of August. He noted, among other issues, troublesome thermostats were being replaced to satisfaction.
To review, groundbreaking on the $189.5 million project, which included the complete reconstruction of the school and remodeling of the campus, began at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic term. The actual ceremony took place on June 19, 2019. Footings and foundation were poured later the same calendar year.
The first pieces of structural steel arrived at the Pawtucket Avenue site in February 2020 and the skeleton of the four-story, 304,000 square foot building was erected over the next several months, capped by the traditional “topping off” ceremony in mid-June just 53 weeks after the effort began.
By the two-year point of the project, a year ago this month, the new structure was sealed and the then seven-decade-old former school was being razed.
The new EPHS proper opened in time for the start of the just completed 2021-22 term in late August, followed shortly thereafter by the athletics complex a week or so later in early September.
Around the turn of the calendar year, the old building had been completely demolished, then remediated and graded in anticipation of becoming the location as the new homes of the EPHS baseball, softball and tennis teams.
The aforementioned fields are expected to be completed and turned over for use by as early as mid-August, according to district athletic director Gregg Amore.
The baseball diamond, including lighting, dugouts, bullpen and batting practice amenities, on the north end of the property is just about completed. The artificial turf, boundary fencing and scoreboard have been installed. The softball field on the south side of the campus has been graded in preparation for the new artificial turf surface. The structures for similar amenities as those for baseball are either finished or thereabouts.
Of note, both will have roll-away outfield fencing, allowing each to be used year-round, weather permitting, for the larger field sports of soccer and lacrosse.
In addition, the new tennis complex is being prepared to be constructed adjacent to the former Career and Tech Center building, which now houses the district’s administrative offices. Six lighted courts are expected to be built in time for the fall 2022 EPHS girls’ tennis season.
Clock tower complete
Monteiro noted work on the replacement landmark clocktower located in the center island of the new main entryway into the campus was recently completed, allowing it to be back-lighted each evening.
Of the tower, Superintendent Kathryn Crowley, who also serves on the new EPHS Building Committee, said it “looks better than we anticipated. It looks very nice at night.”
Parking, access points
The chairman further discussed the soon-to-be completed new parking areas around the campus, including those located behind the fields in front of the high school.
The larger of the two lots will be between the baseball field and the building on the north side. In total, the campus will have 542 parking spot or about a half-dozen more than were available in the old configuration.
By sometime in July, Monteiro continued, the access road on the north end will be closed in anticipation of the tennis courts being built there and as the permanent point of ingress/egress corresponding at the shared traffic light with “Shoppers Town” running parallel on Pawtucket Avenue becomes operational.