PROVIDENCE R.I., Oct. 4, 2018 – Government, civic, labor and higher education leaders in the state, along with alumni, faculty, staff and students of the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College formally launched the Vote Yes on 2 Campaign today at South Street Landing.
On Nov. 6, Rhode Island voters will be asked to approve ballot Question 2, a $70 million general obligation bond to support higher education facilities at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus and Rhode Island College.
Approval of this bond would provide $45 million to design, renovate, and construct new buildings and upgrade infrastructure at the Bay Campus, home of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, and $25 million for facility renovations and enhancements at RIC’s Horace Mann Hall, which houses the college’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.
“Voters this November have the opportunity to invest in our future by approving Question 2 and supporting Rhode Island’s top-notch institutions of higher learning,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “By pushing URI’s exploration of our oceans to new depths and ensuring that RIC can meet the demands of educating tomorrow’s teachers, we’ll send a clear message that Rhode Island is committed to moving forward.”
At URI, a new 20,000-square-foot Ocean Technology Center building will support evolving educational and research needs in marine biology, oceanography, oceanic technology and other marine disciplines at the GSO, the College of Engineering, and the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. The center will be a “maker space,” where oceanography and ocean engineering merge to bring applied technology to ocean sciences, including the development of advanced remotely operated vehicles.
The bond will also fund a new 12,000-square-foot marine operations facility and construction of a new pier at the GSO. The work is necessary to accommodate a recently awarded National Science Foundation oceanographic research vessel, valued at approximately $125 million and one of only three in the nation.
“The University of Rhode Island has become a globally renowned research university, whose work extends from Africa to Indonesia, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and practically every country, and certainly every continent, because of the support that the people of Rhode Island have provided over the last decade to build some of the most advanced facilities in the world for research and teaching,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “What we are asking the people of Rhode Island to do is to stay the course, to continue to invest in their own future, by investing in the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College this November.”
At RIC, the improvements will transform teacher education workspaces into modern-day cooperative learning and personalized learning, mentoring and coaching environments for students, with investments focused on technology and the redesign of spaces to engage in real-world practical experiences.
“There is no greater impact on a child’s education than that child’s teacher,” said RIC President Frank D. Sánchez. “As Rhode Island’s largest provider of teaching certificates, Rhode Island College is responsible for graduating highly competitive teachers who are prepared to serve the changing needs of today’s K-12 students. Our modernized curriculum demands a modern facility that allows for increased collaboration, training, and use of technology. We teach Rhode Island. We are asking Rhode Islanders to support Question 2 to help ensure our kids’ teachers have the best possible training in the most up-to-date teaching environment.”
URI and RIC graduates are making significant impacts in Rhode Island and around the world, and supporters of the bond will be working tirelessly to get their message out over the coming weeks.
“These are exciting times in oceanography,” said Bruce Corliss, dean of the GSO. “As global leaders in understanding the world’s oceans, we are preparing the next generation of oceanographers who will be at the forefront of the advancements in ocean science. From the coastal waters of Narragansett Bay, so important to all of us, to the depths of the Antarctic, our students are working side by side with some of the best minds in the world, internationally recognized researchers here at the GSO, who are making lasting contributions to the science, and sharing those discoveries with everyone.”
“For the past 18 months, we have been collaborating with state and national thought leaders on leading curriculum for teacher preparation. As part of our curriculum transformation, every one of our graduates will receive endorsements in working with English Language Learners or students with special needs,” said Julie Horwitz, co-dean of RIC’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. “Voting yes on Question 2 will provide necessary upgrades to our education building that will meet the needs of these curriculum changes and prepare Rhode Island’s next generation of teachers to enter the classrooms.”