Opinion: Pell and the new milestones of the Rogers building

Last week the “last beam” was placed on the Pell addition with all the students signing the beam! This milestone is one year ahead of schedule, compared to the schedule approved by voters last November – GOOD NEWS! Our team from Behan Brothers, Studio JAED, Downes and the School Building Committee (SBC) accelerated the project so that all students fit into the expanded Pell School next year with music and music classrooms. art as originally planned. Due to escalating costs of COVID, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation has offered a grant to add a student safety bus loop as well as a new drop-in center in Pell for our new families and more. Thanks to the van Beuren Foundation for your generosity!

The new schematic design of Rogers High School had to be sent back to SLAM and Gilbane for a more cost effective design and a smaller footprint. The SBC and NPS are committed to following the educational plan as outlined in the RIDE Stage II approval, ensuring that all students will graduate with Academic and Professional Qualifications (CTE). The graduation rate of those enrolled in CTE programs is 92-93% significantly higher than that of those who do not take CTE courses. The design of the new Rogers will integrate academic, STEM, career, AP, arts courses and more in a new building, which will be a huge benefit for learning as well as culture and climate beyond the simple registration with the CTE. Many wonder why CTE programs are so important: 1) they are practical, therefore results-oriented, 2) students can use CTE skills for internships and jobs / careers before or after graduation, and 3) CTE skills help pay for college education, provide workforce training and life skills.

The new, more cost-effective schematic design SLAM introduced last week will feature many additional ‘Add Variants’ program spaces, athletic fields, material / systems / design upgrades that can be ‘added’ if and when we get additional funding. Escalating COVID construction costs have been a challenge for many residential projects and we are working hard to resolve this COVID cost issue at Rogers while ensuring no loss of programming or jeopardizing the quality of the building. The SBC, Newport School and City Administration are working hard to make residents proud of the new Rogers, both for student success and community use.

The new schedule for a schematic design from Rogers is Monday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the NACTC. There will be a public and SBC design update, then in late December or early January a near final design presentation to be submitted to RIDE in early January 2022.

Becky Bolan and Louisa Boatwright

Newport SBC and NSC Member Co-Chairs

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