Schools is just days away, but if you’ve visited some of North Kingstown’s schools you don’t know it by the looks of them. Since schools closed back in June, five of North Kingstown’s seven schools have undergone a substantial amount of updates and construction. With less than a week to go before students file in for the first day on Tuesday, crews are feverishly working to complete the repairs and updates.
Despite this, Superintendent Phil Auger believes that it won’t impact the first day of school.
“You usually have about one to two weeks before the start of school to set up the classrooms and take your time,” said Auger. “Obviously this year everyone’s coming in at the last minute.”
For most schools, staff and faculty won’t be able to get in to fix up their classrooms until this weekend. At Davisville Middle School, staff won’t be able to enter until Sunday morning at 11 a.m. – less than 48 hours before the first bell rings on Tuesday. In an email sent across the school district, Auger asked parents to be patient and understanding that many classrooms may not be as nicely organized as in past years.
“Some materials may still be in boxes, some of the walls may not be as well decorated and some of the handouts may take an extra day or two to come home,” said Auger. “Otherwise, our schools will be clean, safe and reading for learning.”
Though most summer breaks are spent updating and maintaining schools, Auger said this summer is particularly more intense than past years.
“It’s not every summer that you get about $5 million in construction work going on across the district,” said Auger.
All schools except North Kingstown High School and Forest Park Elementary School underwent work this summer. Davisville Middle School, which recently had its roof replaced, saw the most amount of work, said Auger. The school now has a new heating system, new doors (which are safer and more resistant to fires), a new elevator (set for completion during the second week of school), updated plumbing and more.
At Suzanne M. Henseler Quidnessett Elementary School, crews have replaced the carpeting in the main section of the school. Last year, parents and teachers voiced concerns over whether or not the carpet was holding mold following a roof leak issue at the school. The new flooring will look and feel like carpet, said Auger, but is actually vinyl.
Like DMS, Wickford Middle School also has a new heating system. Due to the school’s age, the process of replacing the system was more arduous, said Auger. The old-fashioned iron pipes stretching from room to room had to be removed.
“Getting the old system in and the old one out, you can imagine the time and manpower it takes to accomplish that in a building that size,” said Auger.
Though some work will not be completed by Aug. 27, Auger said that crews will be working on the schools at night once students vacate the building.