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Making the Grade

School Integrates Masonry Education
with New Building Program

Thanks to the students in Bricklaying and Masonry, a one-year technical diploma program at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (Southwest Tech), the school's new student residence building has a brick faŤade.

"We preferred brick all along," says Ellen Leuck, co-director of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation, Inc., the on-campus organization that contracted to have the student housing constructed. "We knew it would be more attractive, more durable and easier to maintain than other exterior options. Because of the cost differential, however, we were going to have to go with vinyl siding."

Then, up stepped Don Borchert, bricklaying and masonry instructor at Southwest Tech in Fennimore, Wisc. He suggested that his students could team up to lay the 33,000 bricks that the project would require. And, 13 did.

To further the incentive, Borchert was able to secure a significant discount on brick, mortar and other needed materials. Together, the labor and materials savings closed the gap on cost, enabling a brick faŤade to become reality.

"This has turned out to be a great opportunity for our students and our college," says Borchert. "Our best job training projects are usually local, community-oriented ones, but never has one been this big or this significant to the school. Talk about leaving their mark. Our students this year already feel they are giving back to Southwest Tech!"

And rightly so. Borchert estimates that upon the completion, his student workers will have invested over 1,800 hours of work in the project.

Borchert summarizes the effort: "We've built a better, more valuable and longer lasting building for Southwest Tech; and on the same project, our students have learned so much. These kids will leave here with experience, confidence and pride."

Note: If you have an apprentice mason to nominate, contact:
J. David Holt,
c/o Holt Marketing Group, Inc.,
1906 Swift, North Kansas City, MO 64116
or fax to 816/842-9989.



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