PROVIDENCE, RI — The Providence Public School District (PPSD) has released a detailed new report examining the condition of each of the district’s 40 school buildings. The report, authored by facilities consultant Downes Construction, which serves as the City of Providence’s Owners Project Manager (OPM), is designed to guide decisions regarding how to best invest the approximately $500 million in facilities funding Providence Schools has available to create 21st Century learning environments for the most possible students.
“All Providence students should have the opportunity to learn and thrive in 21st Century facilities that are safe, welcoming and prepare them to succeed in the classroom, career, and beyond,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This latest study on the condition of Providence school buildings provides insightful data that will allow PPSD to make a historic and strategic investment that will transform school buildings. With a ‘newer and fewer’ approach that has helped communities across the state build new and like-new schools and this valuable data, we are taking strides to answer the community’s calls for major school building improvements.”
“This report is yet another confirmation that the physical condition of Providence school buildings are letting too many of our students down and that we need to prioritize smart investments in ‘newer and fewer’ facilities so that the majority of our students are in the 21st Century learning environments they deserve,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angélica Infante-Green. “The average age of Providence school facilities is about 70 years old, with over $900 million in identified deficiencies. We simply cannot continue the Band-Aid approach that has led to an unacceptable reality. That’s why we will use this data, in combination with community input, to decide how best to invest the $500 million Providence Schools has available for new and renovated school facilities.”
“A big part of my job is spending time in every one of our schools, so I’ve seen firsthand how sadly deteriorated too many of our buildings are,” said Superintendent of Providence Public Schools Javier Montañez. “This report gives us important data points about the condition of each of our buildings, projected enrollment, and ultimately which school facilities make sense to invest in. Combined with community feedback, this data will guide our decisions going forward about investing the $500 million we have available to bring 21st Century Learning environments to the more possible Providence students.”
Key Findings of the Report Include:
● Providence’s 40 school buildings have over $900 million in deficiencies. It would cost over $2 billion to rebuild all of Providence’s schools.
● This deficiency cost has increased by approximately $300 million, from $600 million in 2017 to $900 million at present.
● Mt. Pleasant High School alone has $151 million in deficiencies – more than all other Providence high schools combined.
● The average age of all Providence schools is approximately 70 years old.
● Like national trends, the Providence Public School District has experienced an enrollment decline of more than 3,000 students – the equivalent of the size of Johnston Public Schools – in recent years and is projected to see an additional enrollment decline of more than 3,000 students by the 2030 school year.
● A significant number are at “replacement level” with many lacking green spaces and other features needed for 21st Century learning.
○ Elementary schools have an average Facility Condition Index (FCI) of 57%, which is near replacement level of 60%+.
○ The sites have challenges like high traffic streets at drop off, outdated classroom layouts, stairs and entrances that aren’t suitable for our youngest students.
● Middle schools are the oldest and lowest rated buildings, with their large size requiring significant investment just to make them “warm, safe, and dry.”
○ Five of seven are near replacement level and would require an average of $41.3 million per building in basic repairs to meet the “warm, safe, and dry” standard.
○ The average age of Providence middle school buildings is 88 years old. With the exception of DelSesto (built in 1999), all other middle schools are more than 90 years old.
● There are more newer, higher quality facilities at this grade level with Mt. Pleasant High School being a clear outlier.
○ Mt. Pleasant High School was rated at a replacement level with an FCI of 86% and accounts for $151 million of needed basic repairs – more than the all other high schools combined.
○ The average age of Providence high schools is 50 years.