Published on February 7, 2018
On Tuesday, February 6th 2018, the Committee of the Whole met to discuss moving forward with different options as part of the Warwick School District’s feasibility study. This was the first time that actual figures would be presented to the public. No decisions have yet been made, this presentation was just a preliminary meeting to outline the different options in terms of grade configuration, and initial construction costs. Transportation and staffing requirement costs have yet to be added to the totals.
RLPS Architects showcased four different options for the Warwick School District.
Option one would be similar to today’s setup, with elementary schools for K - 6th grade, middle school for the 7th and 8th grade, and high school for grades 9 - 12. Major renovations would include areas that were not renovated in the last major project which took place in 2001 - 2002, like updating windows, doors, finishings around the schools, mechanical systems, electrical work, plumbing and fire protection. Soft costs range would depend on implementation of furniture and equipment for educational programs, like upgrading to 21st-century learning environments. The construction totals for this option would be $52,280,000.
Option two consisted of a building for Pre K and Kindergarten, two elementary schools for grades 1 - 4, an intermediate school for grades 5 and 6, middle school for grades 7 and 8 and high school would remain for grades 9 - 12. Kissel Hill would serve as the primary center housing Pre K and Kindergarten, John Beck would still serve as an elementary school as well as Lititz Elementary. Bonfield would then become the intermediate school. This option would allow the district to keep all buildings, but just reconfigure the grades. The estimated construction cost for this project would be $64,660,889. Major renovations would take place at John Beck, Kissel Hill, and the high school.
Option three would be similar to option two in that this would allow the district to still make use of all the buildings. However, Pre K would be added to three elementary schools, making Kissel Hill, Lititz Elementary and John Beck, grades Pre K through 4th. Bonfield which is centrally located throughout the district would turn into an intermediate school housing grades 5 and 6. The middle school would remain 7 and 8, with high school continuing to be 9 - 12. Major renovations would need to happen at John Beck Elementary, Kissel Hill, and the high school. Construction costs for this would be $64,660,889.
Option four would include closing Bonfield Elementary school. The remaining elementary schools would then include grades kindergarten through 5, with the middle school housing grades 6 - 8 and the high school remains with grades 9 - 12. Major renovations would happen at John Beck Elementary, Kissel Hill Elementary, and the Warwick High School. The total cost for this option would be $64,660,889. This would include updating mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems as well as windows and doors, casework, locker rooms at the high school and more. At this time, the board is focusing on options 2 and 3. Continued work on the details and costs of these options are yet to come.
Warwick does not anticipate raising taxes in order to fund this project as the district has been carefully managing debt load and will be committing funds to capital reserve specifically for these renovation projects scheduled for 2022 - 2023. The district has taken a proactive approach, analyzing data through this feasibility study well in advance of any work in order to make prudent decisions and utilizing the input of all stakeholders. Because there are many factors to take into consideration when making these types of decisions, most importantly what would bring the most value to the students at Warwick, the district has and will continue to seek input from the public as we move closer to final decisions.
The district isn’t only looking at the comparable costs of the renovations and grade configurations, but what would make the most sense for the future of the district in terms of growth and educational needs for the students. Warwick is supportive of early childhood education, whether that means it’s one place or all elementary schools. At the conclusion of the meeting, the school board was leaning towards options two and three.
As was done in October, a public forum will be held this spring for community members to come out and ask further questions regarding all the options that were presented. A formal finance presentation will come later in the year as well. Stay tuned for more information to come.