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Sept 1995

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.


March 1996

Town Council voted to sell the Sweeney School to the Society for $1.00.

June 1996

We officially have a new home.  The deed was officially transferred and recorded on June 5th.

Sept 1996

Society cannot move into headquarters as extensive repairs are necessary.

June 1997

The Society appoints a Building Committe consisting of:
    Don Mehrtens, Chairman
    Mark St. Pierre, Vice Chairman
    Louis Bonoyer, Jr., Treasurer
    Alice Lavigne, Assistant Treasurer
    Stephen Mitchell, Advisor

April 1997

The Building Committee identified the following areas to be of prime concern for the preservation of the building:

  • Heating System
  • Insulation (walls and ceiling)
  • Roof (strip, cover and shingle)
  • Windows
  • Flooring - refinish room on left side
  • Finish and paint interior woodwork
  • Handicap ramp, handicap toilet - one unisex unit
  • Lighting - period type
  • Siding - strip and paint exterior
  • Entrance - replace doors, frames, posts
  • Upgrade fire alarm
  • Fix drainage on left side of building
  • Create a parking lot in the rear of the building
  • Basement windows (security wired)
  • Cellar floor - seal and pour new floor
    Estimated cost of this work is $300,000.

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:

  • June Rockwell Levy Foundation - this grant permits compliance with the American Disabilities Act to ensure that handicapped people will have access to the building and its facilities
  • Champlin Foundation - grant for new thermopane windows with the same look as the present ones
  • Ocean State Power - grant to install new heating system

Spring 1999

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.

Summer 1999

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 system.


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.

pic of bell tower bell tower


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.