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Paine House focus of university group

December 19, 2013

The barn at the Paine House in Coventry was the focus of students from Johnson & Wales University on Friday. They are assisting in trying to turn it into a welcome center. Jessica Boisclair. Daily Times.

COVENTRY— Students from Johnson & Wales University visited the Paine House on Friday to assist them in designing a virtual model of the historic structure for marketing purposes.

Last year at this time the Western Rhode Island Civic and Historical Society contacted 13 students from the engineering design major at the university to assist them in trying to save the Lippitt Mill, which is now being renovated with the help of historic tax credits.

These students toured various areas of the Pawtuxet River Valley with a focus on encouraging tourism, new development, new residents and small business.

Professor Eric Army, Instructor of Engineering Studies, explained that this year, eight students enrolled in the professional practice class once again visited Coventry to help the historical society with marketing the Paine House.

“A lot of seniors go on internships at the university and most of the students that visited the Paine House were seniors,” he added. “So it gives them a nice way to work with clients and on real projects; it’ll give them life experience.”

While the Paine House is already an existing museum, he said, the society and members of the association do not have any floor plans or records of the building’s previous design.

“For historic preservation and research that’s always something that is interesting and helpful so we started with the students working with clients, doing schedules and taking existing conditions of the building,” he explained.

During the three hours that the students were on the property, he said, they walked around and took measurements of various rooms, especially the barn.

The society has been looking to transform some portions of the home, including the barn and lower basement area.

“They want to turn the barn into a welcome center,” Army added. “So we had a couple students that looked at the barn and brain-stormed how they could reuse that.”

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