The Burrillville School Committee turned the Sweeney School
over to the town with the recommendation that the Town Council give it to
the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society.
Town Council voted to sell the Sweeney School to the Society for $1.00.
We officially have a new home. The deed was officially transferred and recorded on June 5th.
Society cannot move into headquarters as extensive repairs are necessary.
The Society appoints a Building Committe consisting of:
Fall 1997 - Fall 1998
The Society applied for non-profit status and applied for a number of grants. The rehabbing of the Bridgeton/Sweeney School will be spread out over a 3 year period. Grants were received from the following:
Mark St. Pierre and Don Mehrtens painted the Marilyn Johnson room. The old and broken tiles have been removed, the floor has been jacked up (with the help of Bruce Rylah) and a contract awarded for the sanding and refinishing of the original wood floors.
The handicapped ramp has been installed. The old paint has been sanded on the outside in preparation for priming and painting. The Building Committee chose colors as close to the original as possible - brown trim with a creamy beige, as shown in the original photos of the school.
The roof needs replacing and the cupola is rotting away. We are still actively seeking funds for the restoration of the school.
A handicapped restroom was installed.
Thanks to a grant from the Champlin Foundations, we were
able to install a new roof, replace the brick facade on the foundation, install
air conditioning, pour a cement floor in the basement and install an alarm
Period lighting was installed on the ceiling of both rooms. We
received a grant from Champlin Foundation for $9500 to put vinyl siding on
the building. There was opposition to this by the members,
but the building committee believed it was the best option for the building
to make it maintenance free.
On October 5th we held our first open house with a dedication
ceremony to officially name the Marilyn Johnson Room and the Joseph Sweeney
Room. The fire alarm system was upgraded with money received from a
State Legislative grant. The vinyl siding was not installed.
The members were strongly opposed to the vinyl siding since it
violates our mission of preservation. In January it was finally voted
to re-direct the use of that money to be used for restoration work on the
bell tower. In May the Building Committee disbanded, and
the job of restoring the building was now in the hands of the Executive Board.
The Executive Board decided to make sure that all future
work be done with preservation and restoration in mind instead of rehabbing
and that all restoration work from this point forward
meet the Secretary of Interior's guidelines for preservation.
We received two grants to restore the bell tower: A Champlin
Foundations grant for $17,800 and a State Preservation Grant for $14,735.
The bell tower will be repaired this spring or summer. The
Society is working to get the Bridgeton School listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.