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Demolish or renovate? Officials to decide fate of Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, Rhode Island

July 28, 2023
The district may lose a funding source if a decision is not made by September.

 The Providence Public School District and the Rhode Island Department of Education are trying to decide the fate of Mount Pleasant High School.

The Providence Journal reports that residents at a community meeting were presented with three options for the roughly 85-year-old structure: Rehab it; tear it down and build new; or leave the core of the building standing – which contains the auditorium – but perform a partial demolition and build new class space behind it.

The district has $110 million available from a state and local bond passed last year, possibly making only one option affordable: the demolition and rebuilding. A district presentation stated there should be "sufficient funding" for that option; a renovation would cost about $190 million, and a partial demolition and new building might cost $120 million.       

By September 15, the district and the state will likely need to decide which of the three options to pick to "lock in the funding," Providence Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan said.

School district spokesman Jay Wegimont said that if no decision is made by that point, the district "risks losing approximately $70 million in state incentives, including pay-as-you-go funds and housing aid bonuses."

State Rep. David Morales said neighbors and educators expressed frustration about the lack of details that were shared about the three proposals.

Responding to concerns about the school's future, Wegimont emphasized that it is not being shuttered but modernized.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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