PAWTUCKET – As a son of Fairlawn, Mayor Donald R. Grebien remembers attending Nathanael Greene Elementary School on the city’s west side. On Wednesday morning, outside of the building where he spent his formative years, the mayor was joined by elected dignitaries and city children to dig shovels into the ground and commemorate the groundbreaking of the 99-year-old school.

Health and safety upgrades are about to commence at the 65,217-square-foot Greene school and are expected to last about a year. Students and faculty at Greene earlier this year were relocated across the city to The Pawtucket Annex – the former St. Leo the Great Elementary School on Central Avenue – while their school undergoes needed repairs.

The construction at Greene is part of a $32 million bond that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2014. Notable renovations are expected to include ceiling replacements; repairs and replacement of windows, doors, and the roof; life safety, security, and code upgrades; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system replacements.

“It’s not easy, but the community at large stepped up and agreed this is the right investment and the right thing to do,” Grebien said prior to Wednesday’s groundbreaking. “We’re excited about the groundbreaking that’s going to happen here, we’re excited about the accomplishments over the next year when we’re going to have a better learning environment. It has great bones, this school has. I grew up in Fairlawn, I attended this school … We’re finally investing for the right reasons.”

Construction at Greene will mirror similar work that happened across the city last year at Potter Burns Elementary School on Newport Avenue.

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