GoLocalProv | GoLocal Investigation: The Situation of Windfall’s Recreation Amenities

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Monday 18 July 2022

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Recreational Facilities by Nathan Bishop. – PHOTO: GoLocal

One of Providence’s recently rehabilitated public schools is now another example of broken and unsafe recreational facilities in disrepair.

Nathan Bishop Middle School was rehabilitated by the Providence Public School Department just over a decade ago.

Rehab began, costing taxpayers more than $35 million.

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In 2009, Nathan Bishop Middle School opened as a historic “green” high-performance school building.

As the first renovated historic school in Rhode Island to be certified as a “green” school by the Northeast Collaborative, the rehab has won numerous awards.

In October 2009, the rehab received the prestigious Rhody Award for Historic Preservation from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission.

Today, Nathan Bishop explains his mission: “At Home of Cougars, we envision a school where we work together to provide class and standards-based instruction, social and emotional support, expect high expectations and encourage our students to achieve academic excellence and personal growth and satisfaction.”

READ MORE ABOUT THE STATE OF PROVIDENCE’S HOPE HIGH FACILITIES

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Basketball court for student and community use – cracked and broken. PHOTO: GoLocal

When asked about the state of facilities, Providence Public Schools Department officials have repeatedly declined to respond to questions. Providence Schools are controlled by the state of Rhode Island, but maintenance and contractors are overseen by the City of Providence.

Victor Morente of the Rhode Island Department of Education wrote in an email to GoLocal, “Aramark manages the maintenance of Providence’s public schools. Since it is a public outdoor facility, it is more difficult to maintain if it is in constant public use.”

Morente added: “Cleanup and maintenance work is carried out regularly, however these are outdoor areas affected by weather conditions and heavy use. We apologize for the condition encountered and are reaching out to our suppliers to resolve this.”

Last week, GoLocal wrote about the lack of maintenance and disrepair at Hope High facility — one of the city’s largest recreational and high school athletic facilities.

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The basketball court – cracked and broken. PHOTO: GoLocal

Nathan Bishop switched from basketball to the tennis court

For decades, Nathan Bishop’s basketball courts attracted some of the city’s best pickup basketball games.

Top college, high school, and streetball players played pick-up basketball, but when the school was redeveloped, most basketball courts were eliminated.

Neighbors wanted basketball gone and pushed for a move to tennis.

The recreation facility has been converted from three basketball courts and three tennis courts to just one basketball court and five tennis courts.

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Tennis net is tied to a fence. PHOTO: GoLocal

Everything broken

Today the five tennis courts and a basketball court are derelict.

Only two of the tennis courts have working nets.

All courts are cracked – some as wide as two inches.

The basketball court has several cracks.

As with Hope High School’s facilities, the state of Nathan Bishop’s broken and tattered facilities is due to a lack of city maintenance.

Just 13 years after the $35 million rehab, many of the outdoor recreational facilities are unusable.

NEXT WEEK: GoLocal visits another Providence recreational facility.

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