LINCOLN – City and school officials seem to agree that building a new physical education center (PEC) at Lincoln High School is a priority.
The question is: what amenities could this facility encompass?
In a joint meeting on Monday evening, city council and the school committee discussed some of their goals for the CEP, as well as their concerns at this point.
Council Chairman Keith Macksoud said the main goal was to meet the educational needs of Lincoln students.
The board requested that the school department share a list of their priorities / needs that need to be met with the CEP. School leaders have indicated that one of their main concerns is the lack of physical education space at LHS currently.
Rhode Island Department of Education building regulations allow for 20.3 square feet of physical education space per student. Lincoln fails to do this, providing less than 10 square feet per student.
Macksoud said the PEC should “give high school students a facility they need, fully paid for with the money we have in the bond premium account.” He said
This leaves a budget of approximately $ 5.8 million for the project.
“We have a unique opportunity with the bond premium money. This is a unique agreement. We have to spend it wisely and we have to get our money’s worth, ”he said, keeping in mind the cost of building upkeep and upkeep.
Officials recently visited Johnston’s sports facilities, which were built for around $ 3.5 million in 2017. Macksoud said a building like this could tick many items on the school department’s list of needs. , including storage space for large equipment and space for indoor activities.
Johnston’s facility includes three basketball courts, a hanging batting cage, warehouse, and office space.
“If we’re looking at $ 5.8 million, I think we can be right in the stadium for something like that,” Macksoud said. He would like to build a facility with at least two basketball courts, lined for multiple uses, storage and changing rooms.
Councilor Bruce Ogni says he likes the idea of having three lots. A larger space could also “solve the city’s indoor sporting needs for many years to come,” he said. By charging a rental fee, the maintenance could help pay for itself, he added.
Macksoud said the reason they were considering two pitches against three was that they “didn’t want to cannibalize much of the pitch” currently used for outdoor athletics.
Superintendent Larry Filippelli said the field space would be affected if the CEP was built, meaning the school department would have to consider making changes to the so-called “pit” area to make up for the lost training space. .
A discussion ensued as to whether or not RIDE will reimburse the money for a project that goes beyond meeting the needs of the students.
School committee member Mario Carreño, who works for RIDE, said demand would be based on expected enrollment (not current enrollment), which is expected to reach over 1,200 students by the end of the decade. .
Councilor Ken Pichette suggested we start by “looking at what this money can bring us”.
Ogni agreed, saying he would like to see a conceptual design showing the possible locations and sizes for the building.
Filippelli said these detailed conversations might be better suited to later stages of the project, if it is to move forward.
The LHS construction committee, which has overseen construction on the LHS campus so far, will meet for the last time this week before the committee reformed with new faces to oversee future projects.
TJ Russo, co-chair of the current committee, suggested turning the planning of the project over to the “new” construction committee, which would start planning the CEP with the budget of $ 5.8 million.
Their first move will probably be the hiring of an architect. City attorney Tony DeSisto said the job should be sent in for bidding.
Ogni said he fully supported the project, but wanted it to happen “… so we’re not saying we should have added this, or we should have added this.” “
“The bigger the better. That’s my position. It’s smarter to go bigger,” he said. He hopes to be part of the new committee and see the project through. “I don’t want to not having to review this again. ”