School construction project costs increasing

The Chair of the School Committee sought advice from the Town Council on how to handle an unexpected cost increase in its planned school renovation project at the council’s meeting on August 1. School Chair Jessica Willi said she wished to take the opportunity to inform both the Town Council and the public about the funding shortfall from the Rhode Island Department of Education and that the school did not want to proceed with the project without being absolutely transparent about the situation.In a prepared memo for the meeting, it says: “RIDE expects the Block Island School Committee to sign two Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) setting the parameter that RIDE SBA will only reimburse up to 45 percent of $9,056,722.”The project has been estimated at $10,400,000 and includes repairing the building envelope around the gymnasium, the HVAC system for the building, and “education enhancements.” The gym has been leaking for some time, and the inside is water-stained and interior padding has slumped down.Normally, Willi said, RIDE would reimburse the town for 35 percent of a project, but with the educational enhancements, the rate would increase to 45 percent.“RIDE said ‘if you hit these key points, you get 45

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