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R.I. eyes former St. Joe’s Hospital to house Providence students while schools are repaired

Providence School Department headquarters.
Providence School Department headquarters.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m thankful for everyone who reads Rhode Map every day. If you have read all 125 editions since we launched, you get a tote bag. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Programming note: There will be no Rhode Map on Thanksgiving - because Turkey - but we’ll have something for you to read Friday morning while you try to decide if that trip to Best Buy is worth it.


Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green said this week the she is eyeing the former St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Providence as potential “swing space” for students in Providence, as officials craft a plan for rebuilding schools across the city.

Infante-Green said she is still in the early stages of discussing an arrangement with the building’s owner, former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, but she indicated that large-scale infrastructure improvements at existing schools would likely require students to be moved to other buildings in the city.

“We’ve been looking at the bond and looking at what we could do differently,” Infante-Green said, referring to the tens of millions of dollars the city has already committed toward Band-aid-type repairs to its school buildings. “Because the money that is in there is a lot of money and it’s going for things that don’t make sense as far as I’m concerned.”

Paolino purchased the nine-story building on Peace Street in 2016 with the goal of building a social service center and providing long-term housing for homeless people, but neighborhood activists opposed the project and the proposal never got off the ground.


Reached Tuesday, Paolino said he planned to meet with Infante-Green in the coming days, but he acknowledged he has also talked to several other organizations that have interest in the building, including the YMCA, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and other private developers.

If the state could reach a deal with Paolino, it would be addressing a key challenge that Providence faces when it comes to making school repairs: space.

While the city already has the state and local bond money to make significant improvements to its schools, it typically has a short window during the summer where students or teachers aren’t in the buildings. By moving students to the hospital building, the city could have more flexibility.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

• Amanda Milkovits continues to break important news about the former Bristol official accused of sexually abusing multiple people over many years. Now a man who says he was raped by onetime Bristol police officer David E. Barboza when he was a child wants to sue the town for negligence.

• The New York developer who wants to build a 46-story skyscraper on the former I-195 land has applied for a 20-year tax stabilization agreement with the city. Jason Fane was already guaranteed to qualify for the tax break based on the size of the project, but the state gave him a deadline of Dec. 1 to submit the request.


• Don’t miss this courageous story from my colleague, Deanna Pan, who writes about being sexually assaulted.

• If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, the Globe has prepared a handy list of podcasts that you can listen to over the next several days.

• It looks like state Representative Daniel McKiernan will have a Democratic primary in House District 7 next year. David Morales has opened a campaign account.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

Governor Gina Raimondo and her family will hand out Thanksgiving baskets to families in need at 10:30 a.m. today at the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center on Cranston Street in Providence.

• The Rhode Island Family Turkey Trot 5K in Pawtucket begins tomorrow at 10 a.m.

• If you’re feeling extra ambitious tomorrow, Core Fitness in Providence is hosting a 30-minute indoor cycling class, 30-minute Circuit and a 5K in the morning. All of the proceeds will go to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Oncology floor.

• College basketball fans: URI hosts Manhattan this afternoon and Providence is stuck with a Thanksgiving game against Long Beach State tomorrow.

• Enjoying Rhode Map? Do us a favor and encourage your friends to sign up here.


Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you on Friday.

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