Warwick schools cleared out ahead of consolidation

Warwick schools cleared out ahead of consolidation. (WJAR)

Crews in Warwick cleared out several schools ahead of its big elementary school consolidation.

“It's really hands on deck today," school department Director of Elementary Education Lynn Dambruch said.

She, along with custodians, teachers, staff and others boxed up items at John Wickes, Randall Holden and John Brown Francis elementary schools. Wickes and Holden are closed for good; Francis will become an early childhood center.

Director of Buildings and Grounds Steven Gothberg says it's been a long time coming.

"A lot of planning, putting out a bid for the movers, estimating how many boxes need to go," Gothberg said of the process "Coordinating between all the staff, teachers, custodians, administrators, making it all work pulling it together."

The consolidation, which the school committee voted on, means hundreds of students will head to different schools. The decision upset some parents and students who believed there were other options, though Dambruch said the move is everyone's their best interest.

"It's the responsible thing to do when you decrease some 10,000 students over the years," she said.

The school department said the worn-out buildings factored into the decision.

"It's sad closing schools. These are second homes to families, to students," Dambruch said. "It's an emotional time for all of us."

She added new classrooms will be added to existing schools.

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