WARWICK R.I. (WPRI) — The end of the school year is often filled with celebrations and ceremonies. But, for students at Warwick Veterans High School, it’s also filled with nostalgia and mixed emotions.
When the school year ends next week, it will be the last time the building will serve as a high school. The building is being turned into a middle school and its students will attend either Toll Gate High School or Pilgrim High School.
The move is part of Warwick’s school consolidation plan, which the city adopted to save money.
One report shows as much as 40% of the classroom space is Warwick schools is vacant.
“It’s necessary with the current situation in Warwick with declining enrollment,” said Principal Gerry Habershaw. “Airport expansion is part of it. Warwick is an older community. We have quite a few kids who have chosen to go to private schools.”
Habershaw said he will move with some of the remaining students and serve as principal at Pilgrim High School.
Consolidation was a difficult process for everyone he said, but it was bound to happen.
“I think in the end, it will be beneficial for everybody.”
Throughout the process, 65 teachers in the Warwick school system have been laid off, many others relocated.
As for Veterans High School, the front doors will be replaced, the auditorium will be renovated and the heating system refurbished before it reopens as a middle school in August.