Work at Middletown High and Aquidneck Elementary schools means better air quality and conditions.
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AIR SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS FOR TWO LOCAL SCHOOLS
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AUGUST 4, 2021) – The air quality at Middletown High and Aquidneck Elementary schools is getting a boost.
Recently, the School Department started work on ventilation work to improve the amount of fresh air flowing into the upper classrooms at the Valley Road high school as well as the kindergarten wing of Aquidneck School.
School Facilities Director David N. Fontes said the project will make a noticeable difference and help reduce the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses, if present.
Fontes said if everything goes according to schedule, all the interior work part of the effort by Ahlborg Construction Corp. of Warwick will be done well before the first day of school on Sept. 8.
“The project will provide code required 15 cubic feet per minute per person of fresh air to the K wing classrooms at Aquidneck and the upper classrooms at Middletown High School,” Fontes said. “These classrooms presently have no supply ventilation. The supply air will also be air conditioned.”
Over the past decade plus, the Middletown schools – and town itself – have focused largely on fixing and improving the public buildings the community has instead of building new. The one noteworthy exception to this general rule has been the Middletown Police Station at 123 Valley Road.
With that in mind, the Town has pumped millions into the existing school structures to make them more modern, 21st century learning environments. This has included everything from roof and window replacements to door, computer network and security upgrades.
With the support of the Town Council, the district has also converted spaces in existing buildings into more modern, open learning wings. Examples include the multiage wing at Forest Avenue Elementary School as well as the Learning Academy at Gaudet for fourth and fifth grades.
Fontes said handling systems at Forest Avenue and Gaudet checked out fine and deliver clean, fresh air from the outside.
Minus testing and balancing work on the new systems, Fontes said all the interior work at Aquidneck and Middletown High part of the project will be done by the time school starts. Rooftop work – including the installation of new air handling units – is slated to be done in early November.
“Ventilation is important to provide a safe and healthy environment by filtering air, providing fresh air and comfortable temperatures,” Fontes said.
Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger agreed, saying providing a healthy, comfortable educational environment.
Currently, the schools have a group of educational leaders, parents and others involved in a “Visioning Team” effort to game plan the future of the school buildings and properties for years to come. For more information about that volunteer campaign, visit www.mpsri.net online. The group has its next workshop Wednesday, Aug. 4 from 3:30-8 p.m. in the Oliphant administration building, 26 Oliphant Lane.
“Yes, we have older buildings, but they’re in good shape and I think we’ve done an excellent job maintaining what we have,” Kraeger said. “One of the most important things we can do is offer quality, clean air, something this work will go a long way to accomplish.”