Work on transforming the former Zion Bible College campus in Barrington into a nonprofit academy for pre-college international students, mostly Chinese, began this week.
E&E Contracting of Woonsocket began replacing and repairing on Monday the leaky roof of Belton Court, the castle-like building that is a dominant building on the campus and landmark in the Primrose Hill part of Barrington.
Two representatives of Shineharmony Holdings, Inc., Emily Lu and Qi Wang, also were on the former campus on Thursday. Shineharmony was incorporated in Waltham, Mass, a few days before the sale by Liangming Qi, of 11 Kings Grant Road, Weston, Mass. He purchased the former college campus for $3.5 million last fall.
Lu and Wang both confirmed that the former college is being turned into a boarding school for international students, mostly from China and Taiwan, and most in the 18-20 age range.
“Mr. Qi has always wanted to start a school,” said Wang.
Between 100 and 200 students will live at the school, they said. Lu said the academy would offer three-, six- and nine-month programs to help international students get acclimated to the U.S. before attending college.
Lu, a Johnson & Wales University graduate, and Wang said they did not have any more specific details about the academy or its opening date at this time.
They said only that Shineharmony is planning to fix up as many buildings as possible one at a time, including the gymnasium, starting with Belton Court.
The school is believed to have the name of Q&D Gifted Academy -- articles of incorporation for this academy were filed late last December in Rhode Island. The incorporator is Qi.
Qi also will serve as a director of the academy along with Xingbin Xiao of 33 Middle Highway, Barrington, the academy’s registered agent, and Xiaodong Liu of 10 Femdale Road, Natick, Mass.
The address for Zion has been 27 Middle Highway. Shineharmony has asked that the address be changed to 33 Middle Highway, suggesting that, perhaps, at least one of the directors plans to live on the site.
A Barrington permit pulled for Shineharmony by E&E Contracting indicates that a red shingle roof will replace most of the slate on Belton Court, although Wang said slate will be repaired and retained if possible. Cost of the new roof is estimated at $25,000, according to the permit.