On May 4th, we will have the opportunity to launch our district into a new and exciting direction. If approved, the bond will help us address a major issue within our district right now; retaining students in South Kingstown. This year 187 high school students living in South Kingstown chose not to attend SK High School. Our town is paying other districts millions of dollars to educate our own children.
South Kingstown High School has developed high-quality Career and Technical Educational programming for computer science, Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, construction and arts. Others are in the works. We now need building spaces to support these programs. Other surrounding districts have been more proactive in updating their buildings to support such programs and because of this we have seen a mass exodus. For example, Narragansett has built an impressive greenhouse. North Kingstown invested in a brand-new high school nearly 20 years ago. Chariho has built a brand new multi-million dollar auto facility. South Kingstown can be a place where all students want to learn and thrive but we need to make investments in our buildings today to support the great programming taking place in order to make it a reality for our future.
The current building project has the potential to transform the way students learn and teachers teach. The plan includes 21st-century student-centered learning spaces and new career and technical spaces which are imperative to move our district forward and to be competitive. The plan also includes a brand new auditorium which will help our already successful music and arts programs flourish. It also includes a brand new gymnasium that will lead out to the athletic fields, will have access to the beautiful green space of the Curtis Corner park, the bike path, the disc golf course, the cross country trails, a pond, and the woods. The existing building at Curtis Corner can be more easily modified to offer innovative learning experiences while the Columbia Street location clearly cannot. The Columbia street building (which was built in 1952) was constructed with a different, more traditional learning and teaching style in mind. Our current high school building supports programs of a different era. It is time that we create an environment that can truly bring all methods of learning to all students.
Under the guidance of Superintendent Savastano, elected officials, a new architectural firm and with valuable teacher input, the existing CCMS location can be modernized to fulfill the vision. A true campus feel will be created at the Curtis Corner location which everyone in our community can utilize and can be proud of and that our students deserve.
The South Kingstown school district is slated to receive up to 50 percent reimbursement on these expenses: $85 million dollars of work for a local cost of $42.5 million. If the bond fails, this reimbursement will go to other districts to support their 21st-century learning visions. Now is the time to get this done. Please approve the bond on May 4.
Dr. Brian Nelson