Pawtucket schools receiving upgrades this summer

Pawtucket schools receiving upgrades this summer

PAWTUCKET – All local schools are receiving enhancements this summer, particularly in the area of safety, say school officials.

Potter-Burns Elementary School previously received a complete overhaul, and the new Nathanael Greene Elementary is now nearing completion, but School Committee Chairman Gerard “Jay” Charbonneau said other schools are also in need of upgrades, part of a long-term plan to revamp local education facilities.

In keeping with the new school pick-up and drop-off areas at Potter-Burns and Nathanael Greene, other schools are receiving similar upgrades.

“Consistent with our shared belief in providing for every school, these upgrades will take place almost simultaneously throughout the summer,” he said. “All sites will be completed prior to the first day.”

These are significant projects ranging from $20,000 to $200,000, said Charbonneau, and are meant “to enhance student safety in the lot and surrounding areas. In keeping with our belief of equity through the district, the spend is close at all schools with the exception of Winters, where it is significantly lower based on scope and future considerations.”

Site improvements are being made at the recommendation of a joint city/school assessment done a while back, said Charbonneau. The safety improvements are mostly centered around pavement, curbing, signage and painting to enhance safety outside buildings.

“We have several other projects happening as we continue rebuilding every school,” he added.

The mayor’s administration along with the City Council have put the city in a strong fiscal position, noted Charbonneau.

“Based on that, our taxpayers have approved more bonds allowing this School Committee the chance to complete more school related renovations than at any other time in Pawtucket’s history. Every school is being worked on in some form or another.”

The School Committee, at its June 28 meeting, approved site improvement projects at Baldwin, Fallon, Winters, and Slater/Cunningham Schools.

Supt. Patti DiCenso emphasized that the city will be reimbursed on the projects 85 percent of the total costs, meaning minimal impact to taxpayers.

The following is a summary of the improvements being made in Pawtucket this summer.

• Site improvements at Cunningham Elementary/Slater Middle. The scope of work includes parking lot pavement removal, new parking lot pavement, fence installation, signing and striping. The configuration of the main parking lot is being rearranged to promote pedestrian travel in the proper areas. The existing sand area will be paved while the area between the basketball court and the school along Mineral Spring Avenue will be converted to fenced-in grass area. The entrance to the lot from Mineral Spring Avenue is being removed to deter cut-through activity. The back of Cunningham will have a new loading zone providing a more inviting area near the playground along Baldwin Street for parents to pick up and drop off students that is also “downstream of the existing bottleneck,” said school officials.

• Site improvements at Baldwin Elementary. The scope of work for site improvements includes pavement removal, new pavement, new sidewalk, fence installation, signing and striping. Work at the school primarily involves the addition of a new bus parking area on Sisson Street that will allow for fewer conflicts with drop-offs and pick-ups from individual passenger cars at the front door area. Those passenger cars will now be able to access the Whitman Street cut-out area where buses currently operate. Work also includes delineation of traffic flow in the parking lot and new signing and striping.

• Site improvements at Fallon Elementary. The scope of work for site improvements includes pavement removal, new pavement, new sidewalk, fence installation, signing and striping. The back parking lot and play areas are being reconfigured to provide a longer loading zone area for pick-up and drop-off. A revised bus parking area consisting of a cut-out where buses already park will serve to widen Ridgewood Road, allowing for travel and short-term (15 minute) parking, alleviating the issue on Lincoln Avenue.  Other signing and striping improvements are also included.

• Site improvements at Winters Elementary School. The scope of work includes signing and striping improvements to delineate bus parking, crosswalks, and other parking.

• ADA/toilet room renovations at Shea High and Slater Middle.

• HVAC/boiler replacements at Baldwin, Fallon and Shea.

• Site safety improvements (completed by the city) at Little, Curvin, Curtis and Varieur Elementary Schools, JMW/Jenks Middle School, Goff Middle School, Tolman High and Shea High.

• Fire code upgrades at Jenks, Goff, and Fallon.

• Security upgrades at Tolman, Shea, JMW, Jenks, Slater, Goff, Winters and the Pawtucket Learning Academy.