Rhode Islanders to vote on bond issue for URI, RIC, CCRI

Higher education Bond Issue #2 calls for facility upgrades at the state’s University and Colleges PROVIDENCE, RI– October 5, 1998 — On November 3, voters will be asked to show their support for higher education in Rhode Island with the approval of a $20.99 million bond issue to improve facilities at the state’s university and colleges. Referendum #2 requests funds for major rehabilitation of Independence and Lippitt Halls on the University’s Kingston Campus, renovation and restoration of buildings on Rhode Island College’s East and Main Campuses, and expansion of the Providence Campus of the Community College of Rhode Island. “Approval of Referendum #2 will allow our excellent system of public higher education to continue its commitment to upgrade existing academic facilities and provide the expansion necessary to meet the emerging needs of the University, the College and the Community College,” said Stephen Hulbert, commissioner of Higher Education. “These projects will significantly enhance our ability to provide to Rhode Islanders a system of higher education of the highest quality.” Chairperson of the Board of Governors for Higher Education Sally Dowling said that, “It’s important for voters to understand that each of these projects was carefully evaluated by the Board of Governors prior to their inclusion in the higher education budget, a process by which each institution provided clear documentation of the need for these initiatives. “When Rhode Islanders vote to approve Referendum #2, they can rest assured that the Board of Governors will continue to provide careful oversight until the projects are successfully completed,” added Chairperson Dowling. The University of Rhode Island For the University, passage of Referendum #2 will provide $5.06 million for a major rehabilitation of Independence Hall, and $4.98 million for a major rehabilitation of Lippitt Hall. “Passage of this bond issue will go a long way to helping the University provide the improved classrooms and laboratories that will match the level of academic excellence we are building at the University,” said URI President Robert L. Carothers. “Such an investment will help to ensure that these assets will be protected and serve our students well into the next century.” URI Projects: Built in 1960 and located on Upper College Road, Independence Hall houses the single largest complement of general assignment classrooms at the University and serves the Departments of English, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, and Communication Studies. The building is a critical resource for the delivery of the University’s general education programs, in which more than 10,000 undergraduate students participate during their early years on campus. Referendum #2 funds will permit the completion of a full renovation of the 51,824 square foot, three-story masonry building. Improvements needed include a complete replacement of heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient window replacements, roof and door replacements, soundproofing to buffer instructional spaces from street noise, plumbing, electrical, furnishings, and other interior renovations. The improvements provided for by these new funds will complement other investments that have been made in the building through private donations, the state telecommunications initiative, and asset protection funds. Continued investment in Independence Hall reflects both the building’s condition and its strategic importance to the educational mission of the University. Located on the URI Quadrangle, Lippitt Hall is a 36,852 square foot, three-story granite building. Built in 1897 as a combination dining hall and gymnasium, this historic building has been modified several times throughout its 101-year lifetime. Lippitt now houses offices for the URI Honors Program, the Department of Resource Economics, and a portion of the University’s Computer Center. The Central Steam Plant, which is undergoing extensive renovation in conjunction with the University’s Steam Plant Replacement Project, is located in an addition to the building. Funding from this bond issue would provide for a full renovation of the building’s interior and exterior and would address all existing inadequacies, including the lack of restrooms on the first floor, a lack of accessibility for those with disabilities, and a central wooden staircase that no longer meets state code requirements. RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE For RIC, approval of the bond will provide $4.3 million for the adaptive reuse of former Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) buildings on the East Campus and restoration of academic facilities on the Main Campus. “The College is in great need of additional space for its academic programs and this is the very best way to provide that space,” said RIC President John Nazarian. “Redevelopment of the former Children’s Center buildings into academic, student support, and administrative facilities is the most cost-effective way of relieving congestion and overcrowding that currently exists on the main campus. Experience has shown us that the existing structures can be renovated and made fully functional for well under one-half the cost of demolition and new construction.” RIC Projects: In 1992, Rhode Island College acquired the 45-acre parcel directly adjacent to its Mt. Pleasant Campus that formerly served as the Dr. Patrick I. O’Rourke Children’s Center and more recently housed the DCYF. The agency expects to complete its move from the property by 2000. The College has identified this area as its East Campus. Buildings on the East Campus were originally constructed to serve as cottages for children in state care. These brick-exterior block-style buildings were built between 1952 and 1965. In these facilities, there is a need for asbestos removal, improved handicapped accessibility, replacement of windows and doors, more efficient and effective heating plants and central air conditioning, improved lighting, correction of major storm drain and communications system deficiencies, and extensive interior reconfiguration and refinishing. The East Campus development will relieve overcrowding in RIC’s Main Campus academic buildings. Over the years, program expansion has required the conversion of a number of classrooms into offices for student and administrative support services and to house the growth of academic programs themselves. The relocation of certain functions to the East Campus will permit the restoration of some 12,500 square feet of Main Campus space to its original academic purpose. A portion of the bond proceeds will be used for this restoration, primarily for space located in Alger Hall, Craig-Lee Hall, Gaige Hall, Horace Mann Hall, Adams Library, and the former School of Social Work Building. COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND For CCRI, passage of this bond issue will provide $6.65 million for an addition to the Providence Campus. “Since opening in 1990, the CCRI Providence Campus has been the port of entry for many Rhode Island residents who would not otherwise have had access to a college education. Today, nearly 2,000 students attend classes at this campus and enrollment continues to grow,” said CCRI Executive Vice President Robert G. Henderson. CCRI Projects: While some overcrowding of this heavily used facility was relieved by a 1996 renovation project, the CCRI Providence Campus remains far too limited to meet current and projected student demand. This project calls for an addition of approximately 40,000 square feet, which will include 12 new lecture and laboratory classrooms, academic offices, and student study areas. Additional parking will also be provided to accommodate up to 100 vehicles. In keeping with the Community College’s mission as the primary point of higher education access for all Rhode Islanders, the addition will also house an on-site day care center. This will enable many students, particularly those who are single parents, to pursue or to complete their degrees, thereby providing the skills and knowledge necessary for the demands of today’s workplace. xxx For More Information: Linda Acciardo, URI (874-2116)