RIC to issue RFP for tenant to occupy former Henry Barnard School building

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE will soon issue a request for proposals for a tenant to fill the former Henry Barnard School space on campus. / COURTESY HENRY BARNARD SCHOOL

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island College on Dec. 13 received the blessing from the R.I. State Properties Committee to issue a request for proposals seeking a new tenant to occupy the former Henry Barnard School space on campus.

Citing budget cuts and continuous operating losses, in 2020 RIC planned to permanently close the college-run elementary school that dates back more than a century. At the end of 2020, the Henry Barnard School Association reached an agreement with RIC to operate the school independently.

In March 2021, the association partnered with Providence Country Day School to become the private school’s new elementary school. Two years later, Henry Barnard School was moved from RIC to PCD’s 35-acre campus on Waterman Avenue in East Providence.

Now, with RIC set to issue an RFP to fill the former school space, college spokesperson John Taraborelli told Providence Business News on Dec. 15 that the college is seeking an elementary or high school that is interested in developing a partnership with RIC’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development and has the capacity to make capital improvements to the building.

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Initially, RIC looked to develop the former school space as a “one-stop student services center.” However, Taraborelli said the college determined that the space “would not be the best fit” for that project.

Taraborelli says RIC hopes to have an approved RFP out within the next two to three weeks, and how quickly the space is filled will depend on how many proposals the college gets from prospective tenants. RIC will need both the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education and the State Properties Committee to approve the lease for the space, he said.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette

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