The unanimously approved adding two additional classrooms to the Claiborne D. Pell Elementary School during a special meeting at the Tuesday afternoon.
The classrooms passed 6-0. School committee member Robert Leary did not attend the meeting.
Superintendent John Ambrogi said the two classes were needed for an “unexpected bump in enrollment” based on more recent demographic information received in February. The data revealed the estimated number of students in the new school rose from approximately 840 to “890 or 900.”
“How do you know? You don’t know,” Ambrogi said, who stressed it was best to be prepared on the side of overestimating. “The worst thing you can do is open up that building under-sized.”
Committee Sandra J. Flowers said the two classrooms would reaffirm what the school committee has been encouraging throughout the Pell School’s process, which is to keep all the elementary students under the same roof.
School Committee Chair Patrick Kelley noted that Newport schools saw a slight increase in enrollment when the recession hit.
“I’ve never seen a school with too much room,” Jo Eva Gaines added. “Teachers can always find use of an extra classroom.”