Up to You: Oak Haven Elementary School

If it were up to you, what would you like to see become of the vacant elementary school?


All across town, Coventry has its fair share of vacant buildings. Some have been empty for years while others see a rotating crop of businesses.

But, if it were up to you, what would you like to see happen to these buildings? We'll feature one empty building, lot or area in Coventry and ask our readers what they'd like to see there.

A bowling alley? A clothing store? A Japanese restaurant? A movie theater? What do you want?

This week: In 2009, Oak Haven Elementary School closed due to financial constraints and since then there has been some talk about re-opening it if All Day Kindergarten was ever brought to Coventry (highly unlikely at the moment). Town Council President Gary Cote has also looked into making the building a charter school in the future.

If it were up to you, what should happen to this building?

Sound off in the comments.

Cov Voter March 23, 2012 at 02:23 AM
First get a release of any former owner rights and then sell it for residential development-perhaps affordable housing. If we can get the sewers there to enhance the value that would be even better. All proceeds could be applied to the unfunded pension liability.
Oakhaven Resident March 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I would like to see the building leveled and a neighborhood park constructed in its place. The area is still a meeting place for families and children of the neighborhood, but the building and other structures are continually being defaced and vandalized. As a parent who contributed for 15 years into pennies for the playground, I am not happy to see the playground equipment fall to disrepair. It is a wonderful neighborhood. New families with young children are continuously moving in. A neighborhood park can only increase property values.
Alfred Ritchotte March 23, 2012 at 01:05 PM
This was a fantastic neighborhood school. It should never have been closed. The longer it stays vacant the more vandalism and repair problems it wiil face. Alfred Ritchotte Coventry
Lifelong Cov Resident March 23, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I grew up in that neighborhood and went to Oak Haven. It's such a shame that it was closed and sitting empty. My little boys still like to go there to the playground but it is falling apart and being vandalized. I would love this spot for a community playground/field. It would benefit so many families and would make the Oak Haven neighborhood more desirable.
Brian Campbell March 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM
As resident of the area I drive by this school daily and wonder what the cost are to support this white elephant. Lights are on all night along with the heat and any other utilities which may include internet access. This property is being used as a doggie park with individuals strolling through allowing their pets to do their thing. The no dogs allowed sign means nothing. Knock the building down and sell the property. Stop using is as a political football because the Town Council President lives 100 feet from the front door. The School Committe should be the one out front to make such changes instead of backing the administrations proposal. Start living in the real world. We can't even meet our obligations now. I hope people remember this come time to vote.
LifelongCoventryResident March 24, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I so agree. Sell it off. Us, as families have no choice and have to cut back on our budgets because we are being taxed to death at Federal, state and town level for them not wanting to cut their budgets. We are trying to pay down our debt....how about the government. The politicians we hired in there just do not see cut in the vocabulary. We hired them to do what we want and they do what is good for their pockets instead. Let's get back to basics and get rid of all the deficits. Federal government being number ONE ! Can I say "Stop spending" !!! We are so sick of it. Can we impeach our lousy Rhode Island governor. It is no longer democrat or republican...it is stop spending.
John Mahon March 25, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Lest we all forget, Tiogue school was closed for a number of years. At one point leased to a church of some nature. Then, as the situation changed, it was reopened and later enlarged. I know the reasons for that closure were different than those with Oak Haven. But perhaps they should not be so quick to get rid of it. It will cost a hell of a lot to replace it some day if need be.
Mary Cooper March 25, 2012 at 02:13 AM
i left a long comment & it has disappeared????? MARY J. COOPER
Mary Cooper March 25, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Christine Moran March 25, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I'm all set with "affordable housing" in my neighborhood. There is more than enough of these developments in our area (with more being built). That will do nothing to add to our tax base while continuously using our resources. We can't afford that. A playground/park would be nice. Maybe moving the library there could be an idea. Better yet bring it back as a school and ease overcrowding at Tiogue and Washington Oak.
Dale B. April 09, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Open it back up. It's in way better shape than Tiogue school. NO "Affordable" housing in THIS neighborhood. Theres a river between us and West Warwick for a reason. We don't need Echo Valley II here.
coventry voter-Jay April 09, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Well affordable housing will only cost us more in the long run. The school population in Cov has dropped by 800 students over the last 7 or so years. Some now attend private school and some neighborhood like oak haven just don't have the same # of children living there as 30 years ago. . The neighborhood school concept just doesn't work today. You cannot support the concept and pay teachers 80K year. . The numbers do not lie. Salaries and fringes are over double what they were 15 years a go. I'm not saying its wrong just making a point. Salaries are 80% of the cost of running the school. . The CTA knows this and is way ahead of the curve on negotiation too. They knew school populations were on the decline and negotiated lower class sizes during the decline Brilliant!!. Lower the class size during a decline in population gives the appearance of little cost to lower the student/teacher ratio. It sets the stage for additional stipends to teachers if and when the population goes up again which it will.. . One way get more kids in the school, Push for affordable housing and section-8. Not only will you get more kids you will get more special needs kids. That cost can be as high as 18-25K per student.
Bren April 09, 2012 at 08:30 PM
First, a road from Princeton Ave connecting to Sheltra should be made!!!!!!
Dale B. April 10, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I've been living in Oak Haven for 48 years, and there are more new residents with children than I've ever seen. The last year the school was open, the neighborhood was mobbed with parents dropping kids off. I don't know where declining numbers are coming from, I've seen the number of kids now having to go to Tiogue, in front my house is a bus stop, and all the busses are packed. Open the school again and knock down Tiogue and make a playground over there. Oh yeah, just what we need, section 8........ not in my neighborhood. This town is already changed enough. IMOPO


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