SOUTH KINGSTOWN — During a meeting Tuesday night, the school committee got its first look at early design plans for South Kingstown High School.
Tracey Donnelly, of RGB Architects, visited the school committee to share a proposed concept plan, which features among several changes the creation of one distinct entrance, the building of three additions totaling 19,000 square feet and the razing of the existing shop area to bring shop classes back into the main building.
“These are not developed floor plans at this time,” Donnelly explained. “They’re just overall concepts that are a step in between the bubble [space relationship] diagrams and the floor plans.”
The plan, according to Donnelly’s presentation, should “promote 21st century learning” while also prioritizing building security.
One of the major changes being considered is a reorientation of the building.
Currently, the main entrance to the school faces Columbia Street and a secondary entrance faces School Street.
Under the proposed site plan, however, the high school’s main entry would be on School Street, with a separate bus drop-off lot on Columbia Street. The new main entrance, Donnelly explained, would feature a controlled secure vestibule, with a secondary entrance to a student welcome area and health center. An addition to the main entry would add around 5,800 square feet.
The proposed plan also calls for dividing the traffic pattern, separating bus traffic from other vehicle traffic on the site.
“That is for safety reasons,” Donnelly said. She explained that while visitor and staff parking and a drop-off area would all be accessed from School Street, a separate bus drop-off area would be located on the Columbia Street side of the building.
A proposed three-story addition on the Columbia Street side, which would add 3,400 square feet per floor, would allow for expanding of classroom sizes, which Donnelly said are currently “well under recommended [Rhode Island Department of Education] RIDE square footages.”
“Right now, a lot of the classrooms are in the 650- to 700-square-foot range,” Donnelly explained. “The RIDE standards are about 950 square feet.”
The plan shown Tuesday is “just a stepping stone” in the process of designing the high school’s renovation, David DeQuattro, managing principal of RGB, pointed out following Donnelly’s presentation.
School committee member Raissa Mosher also pointed out that as RGB moves forward, the architects will work with each school department to ensure that the final design meets their programming needs.
“So this is very, kind of rough, early, early stages of the development of a plan,” she said.
According to a design process flow chart presented by Donnelly at the start of her presentation Tuesday, the next step in designing the high school is to develop a schematic design and five-year capital improvement plan.
“At that point, we’ll get an independent cost estimate,” Donnelly continued. “That will be in conjunction with the financing plan and the budget.”
All of that will lead up to the submission to RIDE by Feb. 15 of the necessity of school construction stage two application.