Masonry group to offer program at Ritchie

January 29, 1997


Staff Writer

FORT RITCHIE - The International Masonry Institute, which is considering permanently locating at Fort Ritchie, will offer a stone masonry job training program at the Army base beginning Monday, the executive director of the Fort Ritchie Redevelopment Authority said Tuesday.

About 30 people from across the United States will stay at Fort Ritchie for the three-month program which ends May 12, Robert Sweeney said.

Sweeney said he did not know if any local students will participate.

The institute, which provides professional masonry training and promotes the unionized masonry industry, selected Fort Ritchie because of its campus-like setting and the abundance of stone buildings, the release said.


The redevelopment authority and the International Masonry Institute have been negotiating over a permanent location for the institute at Fort Ritchie, Sweeney said.

The Army plans to close Fort Ritchie as a military base by Oct. 1, 1998.

A training facility is a major part of the reuse plan for Fort Ritchie and the institute's plans "fit within that vision," Sweeney said.

Meanwhile, the three-month training program keeps "our options open while we're working through all the bureaucracy," he said.

The redevelopment authority, comprised of the Washington County Commissioners and an executive council, will pay the Army for the use of the space and be reimbursed by the institute, Sweeney said. It will cost the institute about $70,000, he said.

The International Masonry Institute operates eight training centers throughout the United States and at satellite locations as needed, the release said.

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