By Eric Althoff
CRANSTON, R.I.—Representatives from Boston-based architect Finegold Alexander Architects were on hand recently for the groundbreaking of Gladstone Elementary School, an entirely new ground-up educational facility. Finegold personnel were joined by Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins, Cranston Superintendent of Schools Jeannine Nota-Masse, Principal Amy Vachon and Assistant Principal Amy Corso-Latos, as well as officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education.
“Finegold Alexander has been eager to break ground on the new Gladstone Elementary School and [we are] excited the day has finally come,” Finegold Alexander Principal Regan Shields Ives said at the groundbreaking. “This innovative design creates opportunities for each child to learn in a unique environment that suits their learning needs, and we are honored to be a part of this transformational project.”
The new Gladstone Elementary School, located in the Cranston suburb of Providence, will consolidate under one roof the existing Gladstone and Arlington Elementary Schools, for a total complement of some 800 students. Finegold Alexander’s design for the 100,000-square-foot, three-story elementary school features six individual Learning Communities, each of which offers a suite of interconnected rooms dedicated to a specific discipline. In addition, several Curiosity Centers will focus on art and music—while linking together the Learning Communities on each floor.
On the school’s first floor, communal gathering spaces in the cafeteria and other areas are meant to foster a sense of community and social interaction for students, teachers, parents and other visitors to the new Gladstone.
Finegold Alexander’s plans entail a compact edifice whose layout is meant to promote energy efficiency and utilize the site’s natural topography to reduce the construction’s overall carbon footprint. And by positioning the school to take advantage of as much sun as possible, the interior will be blessed with natural light throughout the day.
For the school’s exterior, Finegold Alexander has designed three outdoor learning areas, several sports fields, a community garden and multiple playgrounds.
Finegold Alexander is working in conjunction with Providence’s own Gilbane Building Company on the educational project, which is anticipated to be completed sometime during the summer of 2025.
“Designing Gladstone Elementary School has been an inspiring journey of collaboration and innovation,” Finegold Alexander Principal Christopher Lane said in a subsequent statement. “Finegold Alexander is proud to contribute to the evolution of educational spaces by creating an environment that fosters curiosity, engagement, and growth.”
Finegold Alexander has received numerous awards for its work on both public and private K-12 construction projects throughout New England.