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Historic Preservation Courses Now Offered at Gateway's Covington Campus

The region's appreciation for historic preservation will now be highlighted by Gateway Community & Technical College.

Its historic preservation arts classes will begin on February 2 at the Urban Metro Campus in Covington, where enrollment is open to community members.

The area of study emerged after a grassroots effort led by Progress With Preservation, a local group of activists that promote the preservation of historic assets. Regional historic preservation officers, tradesmen, real estate professionals, contractors, and engaged citizens helped develop the program, which continues to evolve.

Multiple local governments passed resolutions in support of the program because there appears to be a need for such offerings.

Throughout the past year, contractors were surveyed regarding a need for, interest in, and support for the development of the program. In addition, input, data and letters of support were collected from property owners, municipalities, government agencies and local preservation advocacy organizations. Currently, letters of support have been received from the Ludlow Historic Society, the City of Fort Thomas, and the Kentucky Heritage Council. In addition, the Covington City Commission passed an Order/Resolution in October supporting the development of the program.

Six courses are currently scheduled for 2017.

Students will learn the basics of historic preservation theory and practice, to photograph the architecture of historical landmarks and to assess condition and create a rehabilitation and maintenance plan for historic sites, focusing on the craft and artistic skill of historic preservation. Courses will be taught by Beth Johnson, the former Covington historic preservation officer who now works in a similar capacity at the City of Cincinnati, and Steve Oldfield, the local entrepreneur and filmmaker known locally for such works as the COV200 Covington bicentennial documentary.

"These are the types of educational experiences that we love to provide for our community,” stated Gateway President Dr. Fernando Figueroa. “Not only will students learn an important skill, but they will help preserve the heart and soul of our community in so many ways.”

According to the Kentucky Heritage Council, Kentucky ranks fourth among states in the number of listings in the National Register of Historic Places, with more than 3,400 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features. National Register-listed sites quality for the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. In Covington alone, there are 17 historic districts (which include more than 5,200 resources), and the local designation and protection of seven historic preservation overlay zones (which include over 1,800 resources).

"The Northern Kentucky River Cities and Cincinnati have a wealth of historic buildings that give unique personality to our cities and demonstrate the beauty of our architectural heritage. This distinctly built landscape attracts visitors, businesses and residents to our region,” said Lisa Sauer of Progress with Preservation. “Yet finding tradespeople with the right skills to tackle plaster, historic windows, metal and tile roofing, decorative trim, and all the nuances of great restoration is becoming more and more difficult.  Our hope for the Gateway program is that it educates a new generation of crafts men and women who become an integral part of our community and breathe new life into the beautiful architecture of the region.”  

Gateway is committed to the art and science of historic preservation because it contributes to economic development and celebrates the unique assets of the community. “Our role is that of a collaborator, a catalyst through which many forces can join to make a collective impact," said Dr. Patricia Mahabir, Gateway executive vice president.

“We are fortunate to have such a large stock of historically and architecturally significant buildings.  They have amazing potential to attract growing businesses and new residents who are demonstrating strong demand for these types spaces,” said Jeanne Schroer President/Chief Executive Officer, Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky. “By offering a historic preservation curriculum, Gateway is filling a significant gap that exists in our ability to deliver quality product to our market that will contribute to a growing tax base and benefit our residents.”

Currently, courses are community-based, non-credit courses. They are offered in a pilot program as Gateway continues to evaluate the interest and need for a larger program in historic preservation arts. In addition, Steve Oldfield will teach Movies with a Mission and Social Documentary Photography through community arts education.

Courses begin Feb. 2. For more information about historical preservation arts and community arts education at Gateway, contact or call 859.442.1173.

-Staff report

Photo: An historic mansion in Covington's Licking Riverside neighborhood (RCN file)