SMITHFIELD – Construction of the three elementary schools in Smithfield is expected to be completed by Aug. 14, the superintendent said. Judy Paolucci, leaving just enough time to move into the premises before the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Paolucci led a construction tour at LaPerche Elementary School on Friday July 9, where the noise and hum of progress was in full swing indoors despite heavy rains.
“There are literally hundreds of workers working on these projects every day,” Paolucci said.
Every section of the school was under construction, from the almost completed addition with Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes to community learning centers for arts, crafts and more, to the existing building where floors are ripped apart for asbestos reduction.
Paolucci said all hallways at LaPerche and 90 percent of its classrooms will be removed and replaced due to asbestos.
“LaPerche was built in the 1960s, that’s what everyone used. We will make sure these schools are safe when we are done, ”she said.
Although the district cannot afford to do everything that needs to be done in the three elementary schools, she said, Smithfield was able to extend the bond from $ 45 million to $ 65 million using the refunds. RIDE, and each school will appear significantly improved.
“The goal is to stay on time and on budget,” she said.
In the final weeks of the two-year process, Paolucci said she sees new needs every time she walks through construction. At LaPerche, she said she hopes to add notice boards to the walls of the addition where students and teachers can hang artwork and other projects.
Walls that are not covered with protective plastic for asbestos removal are being prepared for repainting. Paolucci said LaPerche students were allowed to help peel off the paint during the last days of school. In addition to asbestos removal, LaPerche received a new sprinkler system. The cafeteria will be decorated with new grant-funded vinyl murals highlighting healthy eating habits. LaPerche also received several energy efficient upgrades, including a new boiler and new windows. Paolucci said she had hoped replacing the windows would help eliminate leaks during rainstorms, but found the brick siding on the windows needed work. With more than $ 1 million in emergency funds remaining, she said the plan is to repair the coating to prevent water from seeping in.
Many doors at LaPerche have been enlarged to be ADA compliant. During the expansion of the Old County Road school gates, Paolucci said workers again found issues where the top of the frame would not keep smoke or fire out during such an emergency. “These are the types of problems we expected to find along the way, and we are doing our best to resolve them,” she said.
Old County also received a new music room, art space and library, among other things, as well as a new learning lab and main office. McCabe received similar upgrades, including a new library and collaborative space, a new gymnasium and more.
Paolucci pointed out that each school receives a comparable amount of work and that each includes additions.
Construction at LaPerche will also include a new playground, bright new flooring, new bathrooms, a new collaborative learning center, and more.
LaPerche’s pride and joy, said Paolucci, is the new gymnasium and library.
With a completion date of August 14, Paolucci stressed that teachers and administrators need time to move into the new buildings to prepare for the new school year. She said she hopes to organize tours of each school before the start of the New Year, but the schedule is tight.
“We are convinced that we can do it. We have come this far despite the many challenges we face. We hope to cross the finish line with as few misfires as possible, ”said Paolucci.
Paolucci attributed the success of the project to an excellent construction team led by Colliers International and the collaborative efforts between city and school officials.