Work is underway to help shape the future of the Middletown school buildings. To get involved, contact Administrative Assistant Mary Toppa at (401) 849-2122 or email@example.com via email.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 712-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MAPPING OUT THE FUTURE OF THE
MIDDLETOWN SCHOOL BUILDINGS
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (JUNE 14, 2021) – Walking in the front door of any of Middletown’s four schools, parent Charlie Roberts said he sees buildings that are in decent shape.
While the structures are older, he said they’re well maintained, but in need of assistance. That’s one of the main reasons Roberts got involved with the school’s new Visioning Team –- to help make Middletown’s educational buildings better.
The group has a professionally facilitated workshop on Monday, June 21 from 3:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Middletown High to bring together different perspectives. To sign up for the session, contact Administrative Assistant Mary Toppa at (401) 849-2122 or email@example.com via email. The deadline to reply is Wednesday, June 16.
“We could be doing so much better,” said Roberts, who’s co-chairman of the school’s Building Committee with Edward Brady. “We have so many opportunities to do better for our children.”
Raised in upstate New York, Roberts said as a youngster, he didn’t really think too much about how almost every school had quality facilities, usually with pools, auditoriums and other amenities.
Now living in Middletown and working as a project manager community solar work across the country, Roberts said it struck him recently how this community doesn’t have many of those same services – even though there are more people and wealth. Roberts’ son Owen is wrapping up fifth grade next week at the Gaudet Learning Academy.
As part of the Visioning Team’s work, Roberts said the group has toured each of the district’s four schools and learned about each building inside out, among other work. The group has been meeting since February.
The June 21 workshop will be led by Dr. Frank Locker. Locker is a familiar name in the district as the leader for planning of renovations at the Forest Avenue Elementary and Gaudet Middle schools about a decade ago.
Organizers said the workshop led by Locker will be stimulating, provocative and enjoyable. The initiative will help assure the school buildings are appropriate and effective.
Roberts said anyone who has an interest in making the school buildings better is welcome to attend the workshop. Attendance will be limited to 50 people. A light dinner snack will be served during a scheduled break.
“It’s something where we need everyone’s input,” Roberts said. “It could be anyone who uses our buildings, students, teachers, janitors, whoever. It could also be people who have ideas about how to do things better.”
At the same time, Roberts said he didn’t want to give the impression that the group’s work was predetermined -- far from it.
“I don’t want this to be seen just as a ‘Building Committee,’” Roberts said. “There’s so much more to it than that and no decisions have been made.”
Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger agreed.
“Yes, our buildings have some miles on them, but we’ve done a good job maintaining and improving what we have,” Kraeger said. “It’s an ongoing process and this effort is part of a plan to get input on the future of our schools and buildings for years to come.”
Kraeger and Roberts both said part of what makes such a workshop productive and useful is the variety of perspectives brought out during discussions.
“Anytime we can get feedback from our residents and businesspeople, we want it,” Kraeger said. “We like hearing from the community because they’re the ones in our buildings, sending children to our schools and striving to make Middletown the best place to live, work and play.”
“I’m sure there will be ideas that come up that we haven’t even thought of,” Roberts said. “Our schools need our attention and this is a great way to get involved.”