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Renovations Underway at Nathanael Greene Elementary School

Six months in to the $13.7 million renovation project at Nathanael Greene Elementary School, and the interior of the school has been gutted, windows have been removed, new wall framing and drywall is being installed, and prep work is underway for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The renovations, managed by Colliers International, include significant improvements to the 65,217 square foot school which was constructed in 1916. Classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and the school library are being completely overhauled.

The partnership and commitment from the City, City Council, School Committee and School Administration, have ensured that all Pawtucket schools have seen some form of health, safety and classroom upgrades, such as security card readers, fire alarm and heating systems, new desks and more. Potter Burns Elementary underwent a full renovation during the 2016-2017 school year. These critical investments are due to the support of Pawtucket voters, who approved $56 million in bonds, and reimbursement from the State. 60 percent of Pawtucket's school buildings are over 50 years old. 

Other improvements to Nathanael Greene include:

  • A new bus drop-off and parking area to alleviate traffic on the main road
  • New interior and exterior entry ways and doors to enhance traffic flow and security
  • New exterior play areas
  • New energy efficient windows
  • A new elevator
  • A new roof
  • New mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems
  • Fire safety upgrades
  • Air conditioning on the first and second floors
  • Some masonry restoration


“As a community, we knew that the investment in our school facilities was the right thing to do, but seeing the transformation at Potter Burns School has far outweighed anything that we could have imagined,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “The teachers, students and staff go to school every day energized and focused where they should be, on their learning. We are thrilled to be doing the same renovations at Nathanael Greene. Together, we are making improvements at all of our schools to chip away at the long neglected issues, but we still have a long way to go. I am in full support of Governor Raimondo and State Treasurer Magaziner’s proposal to expand funding to improve more of our schools.” 

“The transformation taking place at Potter Burns is remarkable,” said School Committee Chair Gerard Charbonneau. “The transformation going on at Nathaniel Greene is consistent with our shared commitment to provide a true 21st century learning environment. This team is delivering results across the district and has become a statewide model for school renovations.”

“The support we have received from the citizens of Pawtucket to allow us to create optimal learning environments for our children is truly humbling,” said School Superintendent Patti DiCenso. “Our goal is to continue on until every student, staff member and family member walks through the doors of a 21st century school.”

Due to the age of the building, unanticipated structural issues were uncovered during the interior demolition process. Ceiling joists and steel beams were installed to accommodate the weight of the heating and ventilation systems being installed on the roof.

Over the next several weeks crews will be completing the room framing, running electrical wiring, installing mechanical ductwork, completing underground piping and bringing new water gas and electric lines to the building.  Then, a little further out, the new windows will begin to arrive onsite and will be prepared for installation.

Nathanael Greene students are continuing their learning at the Annex on Central Avenue, formerly known as St. Leo the Great School, for the 2017-20178 school year as upgrades are completed.


Above and below: The 2nd floor interior of Nathanael Greene Elementary. The interior walls have been removed and are being re-framed. Some original details and wood working 

will be preserved.

Above: The floor, ceiling and walls are being repaired in the lower level of the school.  Below: The exterior windows have been removed. A circular driveway will also be installed to

alleviate bus traffic on Smithfield Avenue. Below: Wood flooring and fixtures are being refinished.

Above: Workers begin the installation of underground piping for new water gas and electric lines to the building 

Below: The exterior windows have been removed. A circular driveway will also be installed to alleviate bus traffic on Smithfield Avenue and ensure a safer pick-up and drop off area. 

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