North Providence to build 2 new schools, relocate students

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — In a unique partnership, hundreds of North Providence students will be bused to Johnston while the town builds two new elementary schools.

North Providence Mayor Charlie Lombardi and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena announced the details of the plan during a Wednesday morning news conference.

Both McGuire Elementary School and Stephen Olney School will be closed and demolished, with two new schools being built as replacements.

During the construction of the new schools, McGuire’s roughly 275 students will be bused to the Calef School in Johnston – which closed in 2007. The roughly 250 students at Olney will remain in town and go to the former St. Patrick School, which also has been closed about 10 years.

Lombardi said building the two schools at the same time will save taxpayers a considerable amount of money.

“The town North Providence is going to save close to $2 million…$2 million…by putting this agreement together,” Lombardi said.

Polisena said North Providence’s students will be in a good place at Calef.

“They’re going to be comfortable, they’re going to be happy, and of course, they’ll be in their environment with the great teachers that they have,” Polisena said.

As part of the deal, North Providence will pay Johnston for the use of Calef, which is currently being used for one special needs class and office space.

That special needs class will relocate, officials said.

The changes will be in place for about 18 months starting next school year. Lombardi said the target opening for the town’s new schools is January 2019.