Belmont College

2011 BPR Community Projects

Posted Monday, October 10, 2011

Belmont College Building Preservation/Restoration Students Complete Community Projects


St. Clairsville, OH (October 5, 2011) - Students from the Building Preservation/Restoration (BPR) Program at Belmont College recently completed a number of summer community service projects as part of their studies. 

The first of the projects was completed at the Great Western Schoolhouse in St. Clairsville. Belmont BPR students worked carefully to restore the Great Western Schoolhouse’s teacher’s kit, which is dated from 1882.  In the late 1800’s, teachers who didn’t have a school building used “teacher kits” to instruct their students.  The pages of the Great Western Schoolhouse kit were removed in order to be photocopied; the students then worked to repair the kit’s wooden hangers and carefully removed paint that had been dripped on the case.  Finally, they cleaned the case and rubbed in a finish to protect the wood; the pages were then reinstalled to complete the restoration. 

Historic outhouse located next to the United Methodist Church in Deersville, OH.

Another project that the students worked to restore was a historic outhouse located next to the United Methodist Church in Deersville, OH.  While no longer in use, the four-seat outhouse represents a period of history that Deersville preservationists are working to maintain.

“The historic outhouse project was an ideal size and fit for our summer work schedule,” said Dave Mertz, Belmont Building Preservation/Restoration Program Coordinator.  “The scope of work for this project included reproducing and installing a number of wooden, cove, shiplap siding; clapboards that were missing or too deteriorated to salvage; restoring the two windows; scraping the siding; and repainting the structure.” 

BPR students made an initial visit to the site to remove what remained of the outhouse windows and to take a section of the siding back to the College in order to replicate it.  The students also completed minor repairs to the church’s entry porch and an octagonal stained glass window.

Additionally, BPR students worked at the former Thoburn United Methodist Church, which is now the Belmont County Senior Center in St. Clairsville.  The students removed three basement windows, stripped layers of old paint, repainted, and re-glazed them.  They repaired deteriorated wood and broken glass as part of the project, and once completed, the students stripped and repainted the window frames and the window wells. 

Participating in the summer projects were BPR students: Matt Jozwiak of Flushing, OH; Cori McMillian of St. Clairsville, OH; Tonya Ruble of Bridgeport, OH; Carl Smith of Toronto, OH; Brian Wilson of Wheeling, WV; and Stephanie Wright of Belmont, OH.

Students enrolled in the BPR program at Belmont have countless chances to assist local communities in restoration projects.  “There are certain stipulations that need to bet met when selecting a restoration project.  We only work on sites that are government or non-profit owned. Typically, we do not work on private residences or private commercial structures.  Also, the scope of the project has to be small enough to allow us to complete the work within the scheduled class time,” said Mertz.

Each year, the Program tries to participate in a national restoration project as well.  Some previous national projects completed by Belmont students include work on the Octagon House in Washington, D.C., Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Bear Run, PA, and in the summer of 2009 restoration to the spring house at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, VA. Stratford Hall was home to the Lee family which included two signers of the Declaration of Independence and the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.

Even in these tough economic times, graduates of the Belmont BPR program have continued on to find success in the marketplace.  The Belmont College BPR program’s emphasis on “hands-on” learning has established its curriculum as a national model for traditional trade’s education.

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