Meeting Street celebrates campus expansion; announces future growth plan

Senators Reed and Whitehouse attend ribbon cutting of 28,000 sq. ft. two-story addition and outdoor sports and recreational space.

From left to right: (Back Row): United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; Nancy Barmakian, Director of the Land, Chemical & Redevelopment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Peter Sargent, Director of Capital Development, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation; Andrea Daskalakis, Chief Investment Officer, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation; Keith D. Kelly, Rhode Island President, Citizens Bank; Senator Jack Reed; and John M. Kelly, President, Meeting Street. Left to Right (Front Row): Gabe Rosario Farias and Hannah Manning, Grace School students and 2020 Meeting Street Telethon co-hosts.

 Meeting Street, a national leader in child development, education, research and training, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday with United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and community supporters, to unveil its recently completed  school expansion project.  The project, which began in 2015, includes the addition of new classrooms, new athletic fields, an adaptive playground, and multi-use court. 

Designed to seamlessly connect to the existing building, the new wing adds 28,000 sq. ft. of learning space to Meeting Street, allowing it to accommodate growth within The Grace School, its fully inclusive K-8 school as well as The Hope Academy, a public K-8 charter school, sponsored by Meeting Street. The two-story addition resulted in 11 new classrooms, a literacy center, a sensory integration gymnasium, a science laboratory, multiple physical, occupational and speech-language therapy rooms, and greatly expanded life and vocational skills centers for The Carter School, Meeting Street’s high school for students with profound special needs, ages 14-22. 

The expansion also includes a new adaptive outdoor track and expanded multi-sport artificial turf field, now home to The Grace School’s fully inclusive cross country and outdoor track teams; renovated school-age playgrounds; a new outdoor adaptive basketball and tennis court; and picnic areas for faculty, staff, and students to socialize.

“Since moving to Lower South Providence in 2006, demand for Meeting Street’s services has steadily outpaced the agency’s physical and programmatic growth.  During the last two years alone, enrollment in our early childhood programs has increased dramatically, with over 7,000 children and families being served annually,” said John Kelly, President of Meeting Street in a provided statement. 

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“The next phase of the campus expansion project is designed to directly address this demand for early childhood services within our community, creating a new building devoted to delivering high-quality programs that foster healthy early childhood development and school readiness and provides supportive, wrap-around services to families.  We will also be redesigning vehicular access to the campus during school hours, creating a safe, pedestrian-friendly courtyard between all buildings,” Kelly concluded.

This next phase of construction will begin in spring of 2020, followed by the final phase of Meeting Street’s campus expansion plan, which will add a new; 350-seat student auditorium; and a renovation and expansion of its existing Early Learning Center space in order to continue to accommodate the growth of Meeting Street’s pre-K programs.