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Wickford Elementary Conversion Bond Issue Halted

The state's Green Buildings Act may cost the town more to convert the former elementary school.

Wickford Elementary Conversion Bond Issue Halted

Something “green” is holding up the possible conversion of Wickford Elementary School and it’s not just money.

The North Kingstown Town Council was looking to bring a $3.85-million bond issue to voters in hopes of . However, Town Manager Michael Embury voiced concerns that the one-time elementary school may fall under the state’s 2009 Green Buildings Act, requiring public buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to feature LEED-certified renovations. If the building does fall under the act, then many of the (such as nixing the replacements of bathroom fixtures and windows) to lower the conversion price tag from the originally proposed $7-million range would reinstated.

“You’re not going to be able to do LEED certification for $3.8 million,” said Embury. “It’s certainly going to be up around $5.5 or $6 million.”

The council did approve a bond issue to replace the football field at McGinn Park with artificial turf. The $850,000 project would allow the field to be open year-round as opposed to closing from spring until the beginning of football season for re-seeding. According to Department of Public Works Director Phil Bergeron, there would be a “sizable water savings” by switching to artificial turf.

The measure passed 4-1 with Charles Stamm dissenting.

The council looks to readdress the Wickford Elementary issue at its April 18 meeting once more information on the Green Buildings Act has been compiled.

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