It has sat dormant on Phillips Street since its closure in 2005, but Wickford Elementary School may soon see a resurrection. The North Kingstown Town Council was treated to a feasibility study and possible plans to convert the old elementary school into a joint town-school administration building.
Edward Rowse Architects devised two options to rehabilitate the school, one at $6.9 million and another at $7.4 million. The latter of the two would feature more enhancements and include a larger addition to the third floor.
Both plans would have the town departments (including the town clerk, water department, town manager, and building officials office among others on the first floor and school department on the second floor. According to Jim Partridge of Rowse Architects, the school departments would see a reduction in space size if they were all put on the second floor. Department of Public Works Director Phil Bergeron stressed, however, that some these departments could be moved down to the basement level where the School Committee would holds its meetings and where much of the storage space would be located.
Morphing the building into a handicap accessible facility will also prove costly, as Rowse proposes adding at third story addition to the west side of the building that would contain an elevator, making the third floor handicap accessible. According to Partridge, the roof would also need to be replaced to cut down on leaks and to provide more efficient insulation.
Would expand the parking lot into what is now the basketball courts and part of the fields behind the school, totaling 100 parking spots.
Possible cuts to these options would be opting for repair of the buildings windows rather than full-out replacement.
“They are reparable, but there are costs associated with that,” said Bergeron.
According to Bergeron, these cost-cutting measures are “certainly in the range of $1 million.”
The facilities subcommittee will now review the study and return to the Town Council with its own findings in approximately two weeks.
Though site of Rhode Island’s first public school, the current structure of Wickford Elementary School was built in the 1920s with an addition in the 1950s. The building closed after the 2004-2005 school year following a year of heavy cuts and school reconfiguration.