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Skilled Labor Needs CR



I am saddened to hear that so many programs are being terminated at College of the Redwoods ("Re-Imagining CR," April 11). Community colleges are here to give us an affordable option to progress in our skills and knowledge.

For 17 years the Historic Preservation and Restoration Technology (HPRT) program has taught: the value and importance of maintaining and restoring historic structures, sustainable building methods, an awareness of the embodied energy these historic structures contain, and the fact that the "greenest building is one already built." This should be a prerequisite for any construction technology program.

The HPRT program teaches restoration skills that are invaluable to preservationists, construction tradesmen and the home owner. Masonry and plastering, millwork, window restoration, woodworking and stained glass all are part of the HPRT program.

We live in a treasure trove of historic buildings, many well over 100 years old. Old growth lumber was cut and taken from the forest using primitive methods and will last indefinitely if properly maintained. Modern materials have a much shorter life span and don't compare in longevity. Besides hands-on skills, students are versed in local history and how and where to locate this information. They are trained to assess and read a building and how to report this information to the building owner. As our youth continue to lose any hands-on vocational training in high schools, the community college programs are really the first platform for skilled labor training in the public school system.

Dave Grant, Petrolia


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