New High School Update
Posted on 07/03/2023
New High SchoolSouth Kingstown School Building Committee Works Diligently Towards New High School

Wakefield, RI 6/30 — On June 27th, the South Kingstown School Committee voted unanimously to approve the Rhode Island Department of Education Stage II Necessity of School Construction application. This portion of the application to RIDE provides a solution to the problem outlined in Stage I, where the School Building Committee working with Studio JAED, provided evidence of the need for a new High School in South Kingstown. “Stages I and II constitute the application process to secure state incentives for project reimbursement. This is important because the more aid the town gets, the less local taxpayers will shoulder the cost of a potential project.”, according to SBC member Lucas Murray. 

There are five stages a town must work through to receive reimbursement from the Rhode Island Department of Education. According to RIDE, Stage I identifies the need for the project through “facility conditions assessments, demographic projections, and provides educational programs for each school facility.” Stage II provides a solution for those needs through design documentation that provides reliable cost estimates. Stage II closes out the Necessity of School Construction application. Districts then move to Stage III, design review guidance, where the SBC will make hard decisions to meet RIDE’s cost estimates. One of the purposes of RIDE Stage III is to document the project's development and forecast a project budget. Stage IV is the construction phase of the project. RIDE may visit the site to determine if the construction is going as approved. Stage V is asset management. RIDE requires annual asset protection plans to ensure that project maintenance is for the long haul. The town must complete all stages to secure reimbursement from RIDE for the project. 

The School Building Committee has been working diligently through these stages and is close to submitting its Stage II application. Murray states, “Stage II is extremely important since any approvals for State reimbursement to the Town will be primarily dependent on the RIDE School Building Authority’s evaluation of the Stage II document.” The SBC voted to send the application to School Committee and Town Council for approval. The School Committee voted unanimously to approve the application on June 27th, and the Town Council will vote on July 10th. Stage II is a significant phase of the process. It dials in the project cost. During the SBC meeting on June 22nd, Phil of Studio JAED mentioned that these estimates show we are within striking distance of the $125 million bond amount. With a positive bond vote, we have the money to build the high school the town deserves. Cost estimates on the athletic field came in higher than expected, and if there are contingencies, they will be there. 

The cost estimates for the high school and athletic fields build on a design that was worked on by several people. Murray elaborates, “We are proud of the current schematic design because it represents a collaborative process that involved dozens of meetings with community members, elected officials, school administrators, and other interested parties.” There have been numerous district and community workshops with Studio JAED throughout the design process. They are all included in the RIDE stage II submission along with the following: 

Project Summary and Prioritization
Existing Conditions, Summary of the Project(s), Scope of Work, Costs, Schedule, Justification
Architectural Feasibility Study
Structural Reports, Soil Investigation, Radon Reports, Demographic Reports, Traffic Studies, Justification
Schematic Design Documents
Architectural Program, Educational Specifications, Drawing - Arch, Site/Civil, etc., Renderings, Narratives, Used for Cost Estimating
Design and Construction Cost Projection
PM and C (Third Party Cost Estimator), RIDE SBA Formula Calculations, Identify Incentives, Total Project Budget
Financing Plan
Describe the bond and financing information, $125M Capital Bond (Voter Approval)
Site Purchase Plan
Not Applicable
Local Support
Presentations, Community Engagement, Affirmation of select resolutions and or policies, School Committee and Town Council Approvals
Project Timeline
Project Schedule detailed with milestones, Approx. 30-36
Commissioning Agent and OPM Services
Statement of Understanding
Commitment to Procure and or Procure OPM
Owner Project Manager is Left Field
Response to Comments from Stage I
To be included in Stage II

As the SBC moves forward, they expect a vote on July 11th from Town Council. If approved, the application to RIDE is to occur on July 17th. That is well ahead of the September 15th deadline due to the incredible leadership exhibited by all SBC members and Studio JAED. All meetings are available to watch via live stream and are housed on the SBC Youtube Channel to watch. The meetings are open to the public, and community members are encouraged to attend. The feedback on this process has been positive. When communicating with the community, the goal of the SBC and SKSD is to provide accurate information for the public to make an informed decision around the bond vote. 

About South Kingstown School District
South Kingstown School District is a proud Professional Learning Community built upon collaborative leadership and 21st-century deep learning competencies while developing a culture of equity, openness, and sharing of ideas.