Ribbon Cutting and Dedication of The Keefe Transportation Center
Front, from left, Alumnus John Smith, New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) President Richard Gouse, Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo and Mark Saccoccio from Saccoccio & Associates Architects. In back, from left, Ron Stevenson from Saccoccio & Associates Architects; and Doug Sherman and Phil Marks from NEIT.
The Keefe Transportation Center – a site for RIC’s new bus shelter, zip cars, rental bicycles and, perhaps, a recharging station – was dedicated this month.
Like so many of the milestones that mark Nancy Carriuolo’s presidency at Rhode Island College, this center is the result of extraordinary collaborations.
In her opening remarks at the ribbon cutting, Carriuolo said, “This is a story of two higher education institutions working collaboratively, of students and the administration working to make the college greener and safer, of local professionals providing their expertise and of donors stepping forward to provide all the necessary resources. Quite a team and quite an achievement.”
She recounted how two years ago students from RIC’s Student Community Government requested a bus shelter. “They were led by a very able, very vocal student Aaron Buckley ’12,” she said.
The students were concerned that commuters waiting for the RIPTA bus had no shelter from bad weather. They argued that without a bus shelter, commuters might stop catching the bus. Decreased usage of public transportation meant more cars on campus.
One of the primary goals of Carriuolo’s presidency has been to create a greener campus. The herding of more cars into lots – and more carbon emissions – was not the green campus she envisioned.
“We understood the need for a shelter,” Carriuolo said, “but our problem was how to put up a shelter with a very limited budget.”
She contacted an old friend, Richard Gouse, president of the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), to ask if his architectural students might take on the challenge of designing a bus shelter for RIC. Gouse was delighted.
The students were grouped into teams, and each team presented their designs before a RIC panel. Once a final design was selected, Saccoccio & Associates, an architectural firm in Cranston, RI, agreed to refine the specs pro bono.
“They saved us a great deal of money,” Carriuolo said.
RIPTA also worked on the specs, making modifications.
And in June 2012 the Bailey Group began construction on the building. Funding came from private donations made to the college and by a donation from the Class of 2011.
The most significant private contribution was made by John Smith, ’63, ’67 MA, a longtime supporter of RIC, a former trustee, a member of the board of RIC’s Foundation and current vice chair of the Foundation.
In honor of his generosity, the transportation center was named after his deceased mother Anna Veronica Keefe Smith ’33, ’67 MA.
Following the president’s remarks, Gouse, Smith and Travis Escobar, speaker of parliament for RIC’s Student Community Government, addressed the audience.
Gouse commended Carriuolo for being a catalyst for bringing people together. While Escobar said President Carriuolo and her administration really listen to student ideas.
Smith extolled the changing landscape at RIC under Carriuolo’s leadership – the newly renovated Recreation Center, construction of the Alex and Ani Art Center, the passage of Referendum 3 – the largest bond in the history of the college – which slates Craig-Lee Hall, Gaige Hall and the Fogarty Life Science building for renovations. RIC has many ribbon cuttings to look forward to and much to be proud of, said Smith.
“We are on the move.”
Dignitaries at the ceremony included Scott Avedisian, mayor of the City of Warwick and chair of RIPTA; Raymond Hull, state representative; J. R. Pagliarini, representative of Mayor Taveras' office; Doug Sherman, associate provost and special assistant to the president of NEIT; Richard McNeil of the Bailey Group; Mark Saccoccio and Ron Stevenson of Saccoccio & Associates Architects; Edward Scott, director of information technology at RIPTA; and Cristy Raposo, marketing coordinator at RIPTA.