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Savannah Tech classes on preservation are free

POSTED: May 5, 2011 12:02 p.m.

SAVANNAH — Savannah Technical College will celebrate Preservation Week on May 7-14 with free classes for the public featuring guest speakers on preservation-related topics. Some sessions include hands-on activities for participants. This year’s theme, “Traditional building arts,” focuses on teaching the “lost” building trades typically used on historic sites.
 “This is the second year Savannah Tech and its students have been involved in Preservation Week activities,” said Stephen Hartley, historic preservation instructor. “We’re starting to gain visibility locally and that’s sparked a lot of interest in our programming.”
Hartley, who has a master’s of fine arts in preservation from SCAD and a bachelor’s degree in history from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., is well-known nationally among preservationists. Traditional Building Magazine, in its April 2011 edition, named Savannah Technical College’s historic preservation program one of the nation’s up-and-coming programs. 
Savannah Technical College offers the only two-year historic preservation program in Georgia at the Savannah campus, 5717 White Bluff Road. 
The schedule for preservation week is as follows:
• Saturday: Neighborhood cleanup day with Historic Savannah Foundation is from 8 a.m.-noon at 1004 E. Park Ave., Savannah.
• Monday: Lime mortar essentials, presented by Donnie Gillis and Steve Elkins, is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Industrial Technology Center, room 109, at
Savannah Tech’s White Bluff Road campus.
The use of lime-based mortar traditionally has been the method of laying brick and stone. Using locally sourced material, lime mortar is the appropriate choice for repairs on historic properties.
• Tuesday: Introduction to blacksmithing, presented by Stephen Hartley, is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Industrial Technology Center, room 109, at Savannah Tech’s White Bluff Road campus.
In the past, blacksmiths were the most important members of the community. Blacksmiths made all the metal implements used in everyday life. Today, with the advent of machined goods, blacksmiths have taken on a new role of artist and conservator.
• Wednesday: Plaster crack repair, presented by Jason Kotarski, is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Industrial Technology Center, room 109, at Savannah Tech’s White Bluff Road campus.
Until the 1950s, plaster was the traditional wall application in almost every building. Today, plaster and those who can apply and repair it are becoming increasingly rare. This session will teach the essentials of plaster crack repair including proper preparations, mixing and application.
• Thursday, May 12: Introduction to stained glass, presented by Stephen Hartley, is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Industrial Technology Center, room 109, at Savannah Tech’s White Bluff Road campus.
Stained glass adorns many historic buildings in Savannah. This session will teach guests the basics of stained-glass work including cutting, soldering and window construction. Each participant will build their own stained-glass window to take home.
• Saturday, May 14: Log hewing, presented by Stephen Hartley, is from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Old Fort Jackson Historic Site in Savannah. Admission is $6; proceeds benefit Old Fort Jackson restoration.
Wood is the base material for most of the buildings in the United States. Before the advent of sawmills, builders had to hew logs into workable timbers for use in mortise- and tenon-framed buildings. Using 100-year-old logs salvaged from the Savannah River, the Savannah Tech crews will demonstrate the correct method of laying out logs, hewing and finishing. Proper ax-sharpening techniques will also be covered.
Savannah Technical College’s historic preservation and restoration program began with $1.3 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. Savannah Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.   
To register or for more information, call 912-443-5864 or email shartley@savannahtech.edu.

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