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U.S. building arts college draws young blood to ancient trades
Reuters ^ | June 21 2014 | Harriet McLeod

Posted on 06/21/2014 8:18:40 AM PDT by PoloSec

(Reuters) - In the bowels of what was once a jail in Charleston, South Carolina, Cody James, 22, is carving limestone blocks into a mantelpiece for one of the city's historic homes.

The 19th-century jail that housed Union prisoners during the Civil War serves as James' classroom at the American College of the Building Arts - the only U.S. institution that confers bachelor's degrees in centuries-old trades.

The college, licensed by the state in 2004, offers a four-year academic program in applied science for architectural stone carving, timber framing and carpentry, masonry, ornamental plaster work and forged architectural iron work.

Ten years on, and having sent graduates around the world to apply their skills at historic castles and cathedrals, it is trying to boost its prestige, quadruple enrollment and make students eligible for federal loans by winning accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Although a decision on accreditation was recently deferred for two years to give the college more time to address finances and record-keeping standards, school officials say they are determined to continue the process.

"They have applauded our progress and have consistently said we are doing a good job with academics," Pamela Niesslein, a consultant for the school, said of the accreditation application. "This is a lot like starting up a company, and we face all the challenges that any new company faces."

The school, which currently has about 50 students, was started as a nonprofit after Charleston officials and benefactors found there were few skilled workers available to repair hundreds of 18th- and 19th-century buildings that were damaged when Hurricane Hugo slammed into the city in 1989.

"The collective knowledge about maintaining our historic treasures in America is dying out,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events

1 posted on 06/21/2014 8:18:40 AM PDT by PoloSec
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To: PoloSec

It’s neat people are learning how to carve rocks but are you upping your prestige by calling yourself a PHD Carvologist or do people just laugh at you?

2 posted on 06/21/2014 8:23:58 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA
Well, it is a hell of a lot better than these universities churning out grievance studies majors. At least these kids have a chance of making a good living doing what they studied.
3 posted on 06/21/2014 8:34:37 AM PDT by beef (Who Killed Kennewick Man?)
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To: PoloSec
WOW! Another opportunity for young folks to go deeper in debt with student loans for a college degree that fifty years ago was available free via an apprenticeship and be paid while learning. But the almighty government has fixed that. Apprenticeships are pretty much a thing of the past due to our new livable minimum wage(s) across the nation.
4 posted on 06/21/2014 8:37:51 AM PDT by Tupelo (I feel more like Philip Nolan every day)
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To: PoloSec

This is why America is failing. None of these are trades or skills that you learn in a university. You learn these through apprenticeship, and creating new “masters” by taking classes is just naïve.

5 posted on 06/21/2014 8:40:23 AM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyranni)
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To: PoloSec

Can speak from experience that someone who can effectively repair plaster can charge just about whatever he feels like charging. Everybody doing this kind of work, if you can even find one, is like 80 years old.

6 posted on 06/21/2014 9:13:03 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: Tupelo

Agree 100% that trades should be taught by apprenticeship, not in a classroom. Though some classroom work, maybe one day a week, might be a good idea.

7 posted on 06/21/2014 9:14:27 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: PoloSec

Are cities in a bubble or something-those skills are taught every day to anyone willing to work and learn where I work-in construction. Contractors and subs train young relatives, friends’ kids, etc on the job starting in the summers when they are on vacation from school. No fed student loan required to pay outrageous tuition, get paid while you learn.

Here in redneck country, every other welder makes and sells beautiful ornamental stuff at the tourist traps on weekends, and works at the plain stuff all week. MrT5 made more per hour handcrafting wooden tables, sofas, etc on weekends than he did at his 9-to-5...

8 posted on 06/21/2014 9:23:46 AM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: Bryanw92

Yep, we have failed to show people the respect they deserve for good, honest work. Young people now think they all need to go to college and after years of classroom instruction and mountains of student loan debt they cannot name the ONLY president of the CSA, don’t know lose from loose and think their, there and they’re are interchangeable, use are for our, have no clue whether to use its or it’s, don’t recognize the name Magna Charta or Battle of Hastings and on and on, in short most could not pass a test to get INTO a high school of the 1950’s.

9 posted on 06/21/2014 9:33:35 AM PDT by RipSawyer (May the force be with you against the farce.)
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To: PoloSec

How incredibly wonderful. Wish such a thing had been around when I was younger. I think any American city with historic housing stock, such as Philadephia, Boston, New York, Richmond, San Francisco, St. Louis, etc., should adopt this concept.

10 posted on 06/21/2014 11:42:33 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("The commenters are plenty but the thinkers are few." -- Walid Shoebat)
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To: Sherman Logan
In the late seventies a major general contractor submitted a proposal to substitute plaster in lieu of limestone panels specified for the atrium of a bank headquarters. As design project mgr I visited the shop, the idea of which itself was intriguing. At most I expected a small warehouse with offices. Instead I encountered a family craftsman business dating back to the 1890's. Walls and loft spaces were filled with the original decorative master moulds of horsehair and rubber. It was as if I had entered the back shops of a museum. The mock up flat panels and round column covers were indistinguishable from the limestone spec'd. They got the job and the bank saved a tidy sum.

Made one wish for a commission that could unleash the full talents of those outstanding artisans. Hopefully they profited from the mini mansion and restoration boom that came later.

11 posted on 06/21/2014 12:10:05 PM PDT by Covenantor ("Men are liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern." Chesterton)
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