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SMMA Launches Two New Rhode Island High School Projects


SMMA is excited to announce two projects underway in Rhode Island for the firm’s Providence office and K-12 Studio: East Providence High School and Lincoln High School.

In January 2018, the East Providence School and Building Committees received unanimous support from the City of East Providence to submit its Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) Stage II Application for East Providence High School, a 1,600 student, comprehensive high school of approximately 270,000 square-feet in East Providence, Rhode Island. As part of the RIDE Stage II application process, SMMA conducted an Architectural Feasibility Study to propose conceptual design solutions that would enable the School District to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for its teachers and students.

“Atmosphere plays a huge part in education. […] When students feel safe in a building, when students feel comfortable in a building, when the building is able to provide them what they need for 21st century learning, [the school] sees an increase in attendance. […] Students will want to come to school.” –Kathryn Crowley, Superintendent, East Providence Schools

Our project team, led by Alex Pitkin and Kristen Olsen, is enthusiastic about this collaboration with East Providence High School, as it presents an exciting opportunity and a number of firsts: It will be the first comprehensive high school in the state, providing both career and technical education alongside the traditional academic curriculum, and it will be the first all new public school since the lifting of the state’s four-year moratorium on funding for school construction projects which began in 2015.

SMMA hopes to be selected by the School and Building Committees to carry out the final design for the new comprehensive East Providence High School, which would commence in November 2018.

Just a half-hour north of East Providence High School is SMMA’s other promising high school project, Lincoln High School, led by Joel Seeley and Jennifer Howe.

Called “the largest town construction project Lincoln has seen,” in an article from The Valley Breeze, the project will address the building’s aging condition, undersized and underutilized rooms, lack of accessibility, and lack of amenities that are inherent in 21st century learning environments.

Recently, the project team presented their interior design concepts to the School Building Committee, sharing their plans for a new media center; dining commons that includes an exterior dining area and outdoor classroom; revamped technical education wing for wood and auto shops, and engineering labs; and administrative offices; to name a few. They will also make numerous upgrades to make the building more comfortable, such as all new windows to improve the thermal envelope, new energy efficient HVAC systems and LED lighting, and other changes that adhere to the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools’ (NE CHPS) sustainability requirements.

Upon seeing SMMA’s renderings, Member of the School Committee and School Building Committee Mary Anne Roll exclaimed, “It looks like a 21st century school!”

With a Construction Manager coming on board in the next few weeks, and construction starting this summer, the project team is eager to see the project break ground.

“SMMA is very excited to be planning and designing what will be two state-of-the-art high schools in Lincoln and East Providence. When our Providence office opened 10 years ago, our goal was to help affect positive change within the RI community, and these projects will do just that,” said Jennifer Howe. “Rhode Island is taking major steps to improving its schools and we are so proud to be part of this journey for the State and our neighboring communities."

SMMAMae Beerman