Nation’s only nonprofit masonry school turning out skilled workers in 9 months

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Ramona du Houx, photo.

Andrew Ryba works as a professional landscaper in Massachusetts after graduating from the Maine School of Masonry. Ryba will be able to offer landscape clients stone and brick work options for their properties.

The Maine School of Masonry will hold an open house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 26, at 637 Rangeley Road, Avon. The event is open to the public and students will be available to talk about their projects.

May 23, 2017

 By Ramona du Houx, Special to the Sun Journal

AVON — Nestled in the hills of this Franklin County town is a hidden gem of a school, the Maine School of Masonry.

The country’s only private, nonprofit masonry school is a dream come true for its founder, Stephen D. Mitchell, who opened its doors in 2005. Since then, Mitchell has taught hundreds of students the fundamentals of laying brick and stonework, empowering everyone who graduates with the skills to start his or her own masonry business — after nine months of intensive instruction.

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Gagne and Son partner with Maine School of Masonry

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AVON – With a significant donation of cement products and supplies, Gagne and Son has stepped up to assure that the masonry trade continues to be alive and well in Maine. Gagne and Son, one of the foremost suppliers of concrete and cement products in the region, and Maine School of Masonry, the only private masonry school in the country and the only full year school in Maine are committed to making sure that masons continue to be trained and certified in the state.

“It is not only in our interests to assure a strong masonry trade in Maine but helping the Maine School of Masonry with their training supplies assures that they have the funds to provide the other tools and equipment necessary for the excellent training program that MSM runs,” Gagne Co-Owner, Linda Gagne said. “We are pleased to be able to contribute to their success.”

Maine School of Masonry’s owner, Steve “Mitch” Mitchell echoed Linda’s words, expressing his appreciation for the generous contribution of cement bricks and blocks.

“These items, so important to the hands-on training of masons, means that we can continue to provide certified masons into our communities,” Mitchell said. “This age-old trade is used today not only in chimneys and new brick work but, more importantly, in restoring some of our older, beautiful brick and stone structures around our towns.

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Carrabec High students learn from Masonry School

What Carrabec students learned doing the precision work building a brick wall indoors as practice, will be used in the spring when they will construct a wall for the school’s portico, which also was built by students. Students were taught how to build the brick leads,. or corners, of a wall, essential to stable construction, Mitchell said. They later learned how to fill in the corners.

The practice wall went up with cement bricks, reusable lime and sand mortar, but without the Portland cement used in real construction.

Frankie Musotic, a junior from Solon, said he signed up for the class because he eventually wants to build foundations for houses. “I want to try building a house,” he said. “Knowing how to build the foundation is pretty important.”

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Trade Fair at MTA draws students, community reps

2016-04-27 – By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer

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Representatives from Maine School of Masonry in Avon were among 30 presenters at the Trades Fair at Mt. Abram. (Photo submitted by Steve Mitman)

SALEM — Carpenters; heavy duty and tractor trailer truck operators; construction workers and mechanics are among the top 20 most in demand and highest paid jobs according to Maine Department of Labor. The difference between these occupations and accountants, doctors and nurses is the training needed to learn the skill.

Skilled trades, such as welding or masonry typically do not require a traditional college degree. The trades are learned through certificate programs and apprenticeships. More importantly, they are learned through hands-on training.

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