Members of Cranston’s leadership, including Mayor Ken Hopkins and members of both the School Committee and City Council attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for the $83 million rebuild …
Members of Cranston’s leadership, including Mayor Ken Hopkins and members of both the School Committee and City Council attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for the $83 million rebuild of the elementary school on Thursday, July 20.
“Without the support of our Cranston voters, our dedicated families and all of you who are here today, this project would not be possible,” Superintendent Jeannine Nota Masse said in her opening speech. “So, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank all of you for your efforts in this. This event is very exciting for us as it signifies the start of our third major school construction project from our 2020 school bond, which passed with an overwhelming support from 79.5% of our Cranston residents.”
Nota Masse said the city would receive a 74% state reimbursement for the school. This will help cover ever increasing building costs that have raised the price tag of the work by over 30% since the pandemic.
“Although today’s ceremony may seem like the beginning of this project, in reality it has been years in the making,” Nota Masse said. “Planning for this began long before today’s shovels hit the ground.”
Facilities reports, done by JACOBS Engineering/Architectural firm, now acting as the the OPM (owner Project Manager), in 2015, determined that every building in the school department could use renovation or upgrades, but Gladstone was the best candidate for a total rebuild, Nota Masse explained to those at the ceremony. By 2018, she said, a master plan was created after conducting facilities tours and community focus groups consisting of parents, teachers and community members.
“For the first 25 years of my life I lived in this neighborhood just a few blocks from here,” said School Committee Chair and former Mayor Michael Traficante. “Unfortunately, I did not attend the new Gladstone Street School at that time. I attended an old wooden structure off Maplewood Avenue. I was certainly envious that I did not get the opportunity to, of course, attend this school.”
Traficante recalled that the Gladstone School building was originally dedicated in 1952. For more than 70 years Gladstone School served the members of the Cranston community by educating children, and, after a rebuild, it will be ready to do the same again.
With the plan to combine the Arlington and Gladstone elementary schools into one facility, the building is planned to be about 40,000 square feet larger than the original school. Gilbane Building Company, headquartered in Providence is the general contractor.
Finegold Alexander, who created the renderings of what the completed project is expected to look like, has worked closely with the City of Cranston and Cranston Public Schools to design the new facility that will consolidate both Gladstone and Arlington Elementary Schools, educating roughly 798 students in grades K-5. The new 100,000 square-foot school design is a true reflection of an innovative way of reinventing the learning environment. Rather than lining classrooms along a central corridor, the building will be arranged with six Learning Communities within 3+ stories. Learning Communities are each designed as single suites of interconnected rooms.
“Finegold Alexander has been eager to break ground on the new Gladstone Elementary School and excited the day has finally come,” said Finegold Alexander Principal Regan Shields Ives. “This innovative design creates opportunities for each child to learn in a unique environment that suits their learning needs, and we are honored to be a part of this transformational project.”
Crews began tearing down the old property to make way for the new school on Monday, July 24. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in June of 2025.