RIDE Awards Cranston Public Schools $344K Energy Bonus, Highlights 21st-Century School Construction 

Published on Friday, June 30, 2023

CRANSTON, R.I. -- Officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) on Thursday toured two Cranston elementary schools that serve as models for innovative, 21st-century school construction happening across Rhode Island. Due to its commitment to energy-efficient learning environments, RIDE awarded Cranston Public Schools and Eden Park Elementary School a $344,000 energy bonus, followed by a tour of the new Garden City Elementary School, which is set to open to students this fall.  

“Eden Park and Garden City elementary schools shine as models of 21st-century learning,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Thank you to Cranston Public Schools for implementing a bold vision that will benefit students, educators, and the community for generations to come. We are thrilled to see Rhode Island continue to make historic investments in school construction and remain committed to improving student outcomes in every Rhode Island city and town.” 

The additional funding comes as part of a 2% state foundational Housing Aid bonus, which is offered to schools that meet all energy prerequisites within the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools Protocol (NECHPS). As one of the first new construction projects to receive additional housing aid bonuses, the partially renovated Eden Park Elementary School opened to students in fall of 2019. The Eden Park Pathfinder project encompassed a complete interior and exterior renovation of the west wing of the school, as well as the renovation/addition of a secure school entry with accessibility improvements. Other enhancements include a new HVAC system, increased natural light, and integrated operable windows.  

Further, Eden Park’s teaching and administrative staff completed extensive training and professional development focused on a program that yields better performance and improved student behavior. The project, totaling $10 million, received $7 million in state support costing the City of Cranston just $3 million. 

“Eden Park and Garden City elementary schools serve as real-world blueprints for how school districts can successfully transform aging structures into modern learning environments designed to improve student performance,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “On behalf of the Council, we share our gratitude with RIDE, Cranston Public Schools, and the Rhode Island community for their incredible work.” 

"Throughout the summer, Rhode Island will continue to work diligently to complete school construction projects and prepare 21st-century schools that meet the needs of all learners,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Through these historic investments across the state, we are sending a clear message that we care about our students’ futures and will not settle for just ‘warm, safe, and dry.’ Thank you to Cranston Public Schools for building a strong foundation and we look forward to watching students flourish in these new and renovated schools.” 

This spring, Eden Park underwent additional renovations to its cafeteria and the addition of a gymnasium. The project serves as a model for Cranston’s Master Plan and was the first step in the $144 million five-year capital improvement plan that was approved in 2020. The district consolidated several school buildings as part of the plan under the School Building Authority’s (SBA) “Newer and Fewer” strategy. The model incentivizes facility improvements that enhance educational offerings by prioritizing projects that improve school utilization and address programmatic need. 

“We are grateful to RIDE for their ongoing support, and I could not be more excited to see Cranston recognized for our exemplary education facilities,” said Mayor Ken Hopkins. “With the recently completed renovations at Eden Park, and the opening of the new Garden City Elementary School this fall, Cranston is leading the charge in Rhode Island to provide a modern, first-rate education for our students.” 

This fall, Cranston will welcome students and educators into a new Garden City Elementary School that features modern classrooms, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a library/media center, secure outdoor spaces, and other environments that promote learning and can be used by the community.  

"We are so grateful to RIDE and the State of Rhode Island for providing us with this additional $344,000 energy bonus, and recognizing the importance of having 21st century educational facilities for the City of Cranston,” said Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse. “We couldn't be more proud of our new educational facilities, a factor in what makes our local public schools so great. Thanks to the overwhelming support of our Cranston residents-79.5% of whom voted for our school construction bond, for generations to come our students will have the ability to attend school in a 21st century school facility unlike any being built in our state or even in our region. We are so proud and so grateful for the support of our Cranston community as we strive to provide our students with an education that allows them to compete with their peers around the globe, now and in the future, and we are thankful for the support of RIDE and Governor McKee in our endeavors." 

In addition to Eden Park and Garden City, schools that will undergo renovations during the five-year plan include a new Gladstone Elementary School and a secure entryway featuring 21st century security updates at Cranston High School West. All projects are anticipated to be completed by 2025 at a state reimbursement rate between 54 and 74 percent. Cranston Public Schools is expected to break ground on the new Gladstone Elementary School project in July. 

Across Rhode Island, historic investments are being made to ensure that students are learning in modern facilities. In November 2022, voters overwhelmingly passed more than $1.5 billion in local and statewide school construction referendums to build more new and like-new schools. Further, through the $250 million statewide bond championed by Governor McKee, RIDE made $30 million in additional funding available for a second round of the SBA’s Facility Equity Initiative, which ensures underserved school communities receive an equitable share of state school construction funding by prioritizing funds for the districts with the highest reimbursement rates and need. 

Learn more about school facility investments throughout Rhode Island in the Renewing the Dream report. 


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