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Building Arts students lend hand to SC state park

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm •  Published: April 26, 2013

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (AP) — In one of the more unusual final exams taken in college this semester, students from the American College of the Building Arts laid bricks on Friday at the Colonial Dorchester State Historic site to help tell the story of one of South Carolina's earliest colonial settlements.

The students have worked in recent weeks to lay bricks outlining the foundation of a house that was one of about 50 in the once-bustling trading town of Dorchester dating to the 1600s.

On Friday they were laying six courses of brick at the corners of the outlined foundation to make it more visible to visitors. Until the foundation work, all that could be seen at the site were the remains of a church tower and a stockade. But the foundations of as many as 200 buildings are underground, even though only about 1 percent of the site has been excavated.

"A lot of times you may do a project that will disappear. But this is a live project and they have to get it right," said Simeon Warren, the dean of the college. "If they get it wrong, I get it into trouble. If they get it wrong, they get in into trouble. This is their final exam."

The Charleston school is the only four-year college in the nation teaching traditional building arts such as stone carving and timber framing.

"I'm impressed. I've really enjoyed working out here," said Chris Whitmore, a freshman from Lookout Mountain, Ga.

Colonial Dorchester is on the site of a town that flourished from the late 1600s through the beginning of Revolutionary War when trading patterns changed and the town withered away. The work on the site is being done with a $7,200 grant from MeadeWestvaco Corp., the company that donated the site to the state in 1969.

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