Extensive two-year renovation aimed at giving venerable Kings County school another 100 years of service
BRUDENELL — For years it sat lonely and leaking.
The local council would sit in the original school desks when holding a monthly meeting and a stiff wind through the drafty windows would easily chill the coffee.
But after a two-year effort, the old Brudenell schoolhouse here has been completely renovated and ready to face another 100 years of community service.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of work involved to get this done,’’ said council chairwoman Peggy Coffin. “Now we have a beautiful building.”
Coffin welcomed guests to the school house Saturday during the official opening ceremony where former students Athol Robertson and Catherine Robertson (no relation), both 91 years old, cut the ribbon.
She paid special tribute to council member Frank Dolan, who oversaw the project and spent much of the past summer supervising the contracted work.
The two-year project began with lifting the building and the installation of a foundation and heating system. The rebuilding continued with water, insulation, shingling, windows, roof and a complete painting.
“It was badly in need of renovation,’’ said Dolan. “We were holding our council meetings in here and you could see the old place starting to fade.”
The roof was leaking and the foundation was crumbling when the community contributed $13,000 towards a renovation assisted by both levels of government to cover the estimated $70,000 project.
Located a few miles from Montague, it’s one of the smaller one-room schoolhouses in the province and served a baker’s dozen worth of students. There were photographs and early textbooks on display, and even two handwriting awards presented to former student Athol Robertson.
“George Dewar, before he became a doctor, was our teacher one year,’’ said Robertson, who attended during the late 1920s and early 1930s. “When you saw his face turning red, you quieted down.”
Former student Annie (Stewart) Cameron drove from Indian River to attend the opening.
“We all had jobs to do whether it was fetching water twice a day or carrying coal up from the basement,’’ she said.
“You would roast sitting by the pot belly stove and be chilly if you sat in the corner.”
Built around the turn of the last century, the school will now be available for events, gatherings or reunions, and absolutely free to residents of the community.