Building Committee backs new EPHS clock tower concept

Will be constructed to replace, though designed to mirror, existing structure

By Mike Rego
Posted 5/12/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — The new East Providence High School Building Committee has coalesced around a design for a reconstructed clock tower, agreeing to move forward with the replacement structure …

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Building Committee backs new EPHS clock tower concept

Will be constructed to replace, though designed to mirror, existing structure

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The new East Providence High School Building Committee has coalesced around a design for a reconstructed clock tower, agreeing to move forward with the replacement structure at its monthly meeting in May.

The committee unanimously approved an amended concept for a completely new tower to built as part of the overall $189.5 million project.

The body previously chose from three initial designs presented to it by a team from Ai3, the new EPHS architectural firm.

The majority backed what is an approximately 52-foot tall rendition considered by members to most closely resemble the existing landmark structure.

It also continues the “triangular” theme (representing the “past, present and future”) used in shapes throughout the entirety of the new facility.

The renderings for the final design of the clock tower were presented to the body at the May meeting by Ai3’s Kristen Kendall.

Besides the triangular shape, Ms. Kendall described the other key elements, including an interlocking red “EP” at the rear of the tower facing the new school, which will be illuminated with under side or “halo” lighting.

The other two sides, facing south seen on approach from the Waterman Avenue direction and from the northerly, Taunton Avenue direction, will each feature the words “East Providence High School” spelled out in raised red metal lettering  and a clock face, like the existing tower, in analog form with black hands. Both sides, as well, will have the same halo back lighting.

The tower will be situated in the grassed median, bisecting the long driveway entering and exiting the new high school property off Pawtucket Avenue.

“This design very much resembles the existing clock tower and we wanted to keep that tradition,” said new EPHS Building Committee co-chair and School Committee chairman Joel Monteiro.

The status of the tower the school grounds has been a constant concern of alumni and the committee, which was charged and promised to attempt to conceptualize the existing structure into the new EPHS layout.

However, as time moved on, its viability, both financially and aesthetically, proved too difficult. The cost of maintaining the old tower was estimated to be upwards of $400,000, much of the monies directed to fortifying its base and frame. As well its features, lighter shades of stone and brick, did not fit with the new four-story, deeper red brick building.

The final design of the new tower and the proposal from Ai3 received resounding support from the body.

“I’d like to commend Ai3 for listening to our suggestions and I think they’ve come up with a terrific package,” said committee member, EPHS alum and former district superintendent Manny Vinhateiro. “Thank you very much for your hard work. And I think this is going to be something that will truly stand out in the community for years to come. Thank you again, and well done.”

One crucial component of the new clock tower, the expense to build it, has yet to be determined. Now that the design and placement have been confirmed, Ai3, the district’s owner’s project manager the Peregrine Group and Gilbane, the site contractor, are expected to compile and present that figure to the committee at its June meeting, if not sooner.

However, as pointed out by Sam Bradner, of Peregrine, during his monthly OPM update, the overall project remains under budget by several million dollars at the moment, allowing allocation of funds to build the new tower without any significant impact to other necessary elements of the new facility.

Old high school tour
Superintendent Kathryn Crowley, a committee member as well, announced a final public walk-through for residents and EPHS alumni of the old building will be held Saturday, May 29, Memorial Day weekend, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The tour will be conducted with COVID-19 pandemic protocols in place. The wearing of masks will be required and social distancing will be maintained. Also, the second floor is not handicap accessible because the elevator in the old building is out of service.

OPM report
The new EPHS building proper and associated aspects of the initial phase of construction (i.e., athletics stadium, halftime room, greenhouse) are 66.8% complete, Mr. Bradner also told the committee during his monthly update.

He reiterated interior work will intensify in the coming weeks with even some “punch list” items, completed elements, already scheduled to start in June.

Mr. Bradner also provided the committee with a review of the Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) employed on the project, done so at the request of member Gene Oakland.

Mr. Bradner noted M/WBEs to date have been or will be compensated $25.8 million for completed or contracted work, which represents 13 percent of the $189.5 million project total.

The dollar amount and rate of inclusion is well above the initial aim of 10 percent, something Mr. Bradner said “is great news for the community and the school.”

More notes
The overall schedule for the new building being suitable to open for the 2021-22 term starting later this summer remains.

Eric Andrutis, also of Peregrine, told the committee the opening is “trending as scheduled previously with substantial completion on August 30.”

As part of the process, Mr. Bradner added EPHS staff will soon start a series of informational/training sessions on usage and operations of the building.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.