Block Island Times

School has to spend money to save money

The Block Island School has been working toward substantial renovations for some time. Through the Necessity of School Construction program, Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) will help bear the costs of school renovations and construction projects. The state’s share ratio, or percentage the state will contribute, is calculated annually for each Local Education Agency, and there is a lengthy and scrupulous application process to access this funding.The school was ready to submit its application for state aid to RIDE back in September. The Block Island School Committee had been working to secure funding to replace the HVAC system and renovate the gymnasium, and the application was ready to go with a price tag of $9.3 million. But then, as Michael van Hamel of Saccoccio and Associates told the School Committee on January 18, RIDE suggested adding a little more to the application in order to break the $10,000,000 threshold and trigger access to an additional ten percent of state funding. RIDE suggested a renewable energy geothermal heating and cooling system to get over the $10 million hump.The additional funding comes in the form of two five percent bonuses, one based on projects that address health and safety

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