Emergency repairs will fix cracking at Ricci Middle School

Emergency repairs will fix cracking at Ricci Middle School

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The School Committee has approved emergency repairs to address cracking and sinking that has occurred in an exterior wall at Ricci Middle School.

Gilbane Building Co. went out to bid for the major project, which came back at $489,000. School officials asked the Rhode Island Department of Education for emergency funding for the repairs and were authorized to borrow up to $500,000.

When the work is complete, North Providence expects to be reimbursed by the state up to 57 percent of the project cost.

The North Providence Facilities Committee has been discussing the cracking for several months while exploring its options for financing the fixes.

School Committee Chairman Frank Pallotta said he tried to make an insurance claim, but the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust declined to pick up the tab.

The School Committee is expected to approve the use of no more than $67,000 in surplus funds for the purpose of “expediting the emergency repair project at Ricci” during its meeting tonight, July 10. Pallotta said that amount was intended to cover the difference between the bid price, RIDE reimbursement and any other expenses incurred.

“I’m still trying to get the trust to pay for that portion,” Pallotta said. “They do not feel as though this comes under insurance. I have a different opinion; I think it does.”

The $67,000 will come out of the School Department’s surplus. Pallotta said they’re waiting on the final audit report to come in to know how much they have in surplus funds, but the number was roughly $1 million before he was elected. That number decreased by $341,000 last summer, representing the cost to remove mold from Ricci.

Pallotta said the outer gym wall at Ricci has been sinking and cracking for years.

“They say the school was built on a cranberry bog,” he said. “Over the years the pilings have sunk. They now have to drill down deeper than the original pilings, based on today’s regulations.”

Pallotta said school officials are hoping to fix the damage that’s already been done while stopping further sinking from occurring.

Cracking was monitored and tested by Odeh Engineering on a monthly basis throughout the school year. The company determined that the building was safe to occupy.