Promoting the past

Ivy Tech to hold community
forum on historic preservation

Two-year degree in the field
may be a future possibility

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(January 2009) – The Madison, Ind., campus of Ivy Tech Community College will play host to a public forum to gauge community interest in the development of a new historic preservation curriculum at the college. The Historic Preservation Community Forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the lecture hall at Ivy Tech Community College, 590 Ivy Tech Dr. Anyone interested in historic preservation or learning about historic trades is encouraged to attend.



Madison campus Executive Dean Don Heiderman said the idea of developing hands-on curriculum for historic preservation came about during the strategic planning of 2001-2002 when the college decided to expand. “Madison is known for its commitment to historic preservation,” said Heiderman. “We have a great opportunity to develop a unique program that would be a win-win situation for our community.”
According to Heiderman, the program would start with a few non-traditional seminars and hands-on workshops. Teachers would be drawn from community experts in the various trades and crafts of historic preservation.
“The best situation would be to eventually offer an Associate’s Degree in Historic Preservation,” said Heiderman. “We hope to start offering some workshops or seminars by April or May of 2009.”
Ivy Tech professor Rhonda Deeg created a two-year degree program in historic preservation at Harford Community College, in Bell Air, Md. Deeg, who recently moved to Madison, is working with preservation leaders and Ivy Tech officials to develop a similar program for Madison.
“There are only a handful of these programs available throughout the country,” she said. “There is such a need for skilled historic tradesmen and craftsmen that employers were plucking our students right out of the program in Harford before they had a chance to finish,”
Deeg said the Ivy Tech program will be catered to the community but will offer the same theoretical courses, such as historical research that the other programs have. The hands-ons courses will be developed around community interest and need.
She said it is vital that the fledgling program receive appropriate marketing to “let people know it is a legitimate program.” Deeg will be one of the speakers at the community forum. She will discuss historic trades in general and then explain the program at Harford and others around the country.
Randy Johann, executive director of workforce and economic development at Ivy Tech, is overseeing the new initiative. “We think the development of such a curriculum is a do-able plan,” he said. “Right now, we have to evaluate our priorities and coordinate with the community on the vision of the project.”
John Stacier, executive director of Historic Madison Inc., was involved in the initial discussion of developing such a curriculum. “Madison is a nationally known laboratory for architectural history,” he said. “This would be the feather in the cap of our local historic preservation program.”
Stacier said there are many issues involving rehabilitation and restoration of older buildings that many modern contractors and homeowners need to understand. “Older buildings are built with different materials than those of today,” he said. “Such a program will help train people to deal with these issues.” Stacier will speak during the community forum about the local view of historic preservation.
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana is also involved in the Ivy Tech initiative. “The economic downturn may force people to refocus on revitalizing older buildings,” said Greg Sekula, southern regional director of Historic Landmarks of Indiana. “There is a growing need across the country for quality crafts people who understand these old buildings.”
He hopes the community forum in Madison stimulates interest in historic preservation in the community. “An education program for historic preservation in Madison would be simply tremendous,” he said.

• For more information, call Ivy Tech Community College at (812) 265-2580.

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