NARRAGANSETT- The School Committee approved the memorandum of agreement between the Narragansett School Department and the Chad O’Brien Memorial Scholarship Fund for the NHS wood floor during the meeting on Wednesday, August 21.
The Chad O’Brien Memorial Fund will donate a gift of $150,000 toward the completion of the Narragansett High School Gymnasium renovation project. The scholarship fund will also contribute a gift of $10,000 toward the introduction of a mental health awareness program at the high school.
School Committee President Tammy McNeiece said that after the long process, she was pleased that the committee was finally voting on this MOA.
“I am really excited that this is up for a vote tonight. It has come a long way and this was a proposal that came to the school committee as a draft a long time ago,” said McNeiece. “I am so excited that this is before us, I think this is going to be a great partnership that we are going to have with this community group.”
Narragansett High School alumnus and representative of the Chad O’Brien Memorial Fund Todd Meleney stated his quest to bring a new and improved gymnasium to the highschool more than two years ago.
The improvements to the gymnasium are focused on honoring Chad O’Brien, whose life ended tragically just six months after his high school graduation. O’Brien’s love for basketball and the memories of playing basketball together motivated Meleny to bring the high school a new gymnasium.
The funding has been made possible through the O’B Surf Group, a charitable organization formed by O’Brien’s friends and family.
“I would just like to thank the school committee and the school department overall for the flexibility and patience with working with our group as well,” said Meleney. “We are excited it will be in memory of Chad but we are really more excited about the improvements and the way that it will impact students who never met Chad. And additionally with the mental health program we couldn’t be more excited. We understand that the $10,000 will not really change the world so to speak, but we hope that it can act as seed money for a greater project so that as money is available, that can potentially grow larger and continue to help students.”
The renovated basketball court will be dedicated to Chad O’Brien and a dedication ceremony will be held to open the gymnasium upon its completion. The logo “Chad O’Brien Court” will be printed in two locations on the hardwood and a bronze plaque will also be mounted within the gymnasium.
Superintendent Kathy Sipala stated that the high school hopes to have the pouring of the first base for the gymnasium flooring by Friday, Aug. 23. She also stated that the estimated time for the completion of the gymnasium is late November to early December.