Sunday, September 10, 2000

Students to redo historic house

Hands-on learning helps Lebanon

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The city needed to fix up an old Victorian next to Colonial Park for a recreation department office. Students at the Warren County Career Center needed practical experience fixing up houses.

        This spring, new Councilwoman Jane Davenport suggested the groups could help each other if students did the work on the house, at 720 N. Broadway.

        That idea is about to reach fruition, with City Council expected to set aside $85,000 for the project Tuesday and the career center expected to start work Sept. 18, Planning Director Marty Kohler said Thursday.

        “It's just a good deal for everybody,” said Steve Wil liamson, a career center instructor who is leading the project.

        About 55 seniors in his construction trades program should finish the carpentry and electrical work in about six months, he said. The career center, in Lebanon, enrolls students virtually countywide who are interested in technical training.

        “It's a wonderful experi ence,” Mr. Williamson said. “Over the course of the year, they will experience about 20 different trade areas.”

        The city, for its part, is saving at least $50,000 on labor, Mr. Kohler estimated. The city will pay for materials and give the career center 10 percent of the materials' cost to cover transportation and other school expenses.

        Lebanon also will pay professionals to repair the roof, plumbing and heat, but even there the students will help, Mr. Williamson said.

        “It's a real mess,” he said of the house. The floor, for instance, is badly rotted. “If it wasn't a historic building, you'd probably tear it down.”

        The city almost did that last year, until the new Lebanon Conservancy Foundation objected.

        “We decided to set a good example for the community and show how historic preservation can work,” Mr. Kohler said.

        The Victorian, called the Sams' house after the family that used to own it, is more than a century old. When the restoration is finished, the recreation department will move its offices there.
       If you go

        • What: Lebanon City Council meeting.

        • When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

        • Where: City Hall, 50 S. Broadway.


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