Technical Education Post

News and Information for Technical Educators

Fergus Falls Opportunity Under Exploration


The long-standing Public Television Station (PBS) program “This Old House,” recently completed airing “The Charleston Houses 2018,” featuring the construction expertise and artisanry of the craftsmen at the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA).

The ACBA awards Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in the classical construction arts and is the only institution in the nation to do so.  Its liberal arts curriculum also offers Associate of Applied Science degrees and certifications in classical construction arts.

Following the airing of “The Charleston Houses 2018,” which featured the ACBA in the first and final episodes and select others, (Series 39, Episodes 17-26, video replay access at, the college received several calls from across the nation about locating a second campus in other parts of the country. One of those calls came from Lois Josefson, of Fergus Falls, after she had spoken with Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer, academic and community leaders.

The potential for locating a second campus in the service buildings of the Kirkbride, also a classical historical property, just like the repurposed historic property location which is home to the ACBA Charleston, South Carolina campus, was attractive to the college.  Positive, also, was the potential to work in partnership with the M State liberal arts campus in Fergus Falls and its academic partners, as well as with a community that respects its history while embracing the future.  A July visit to Fergus Falls by ACBA leaders is in process and an invitation is extended for Fergus Falls visits to ACBA’s historic Charleston campus in August.

ACBA apprentice approach to teaching the classical construction trades is widely respected.  Graduates were among the skilled artisans who were recruited from across the globe to renovate the Minnesota State Capitol.

Welcoming this internationally recognized institution to Fergus Falls and their location in the Kirkbride buildings slated for demolition during the pending Phase 2, opens many opportunities for the city and the area,”  said Josefson.

Members in the creative/ entrepreneurial community are excited about the possibility of an ACBA anchor as it presents another opportunity to develop a location as both a entrepreneur and creative center for business and arts in the adjacent Kirkbride dining room and kitchen areas. Many have compared this to centers in both Bemidji (LaunchPad) and Willmar (Workup).

Attracting national attention to Fergus Falls at the Kirkbride through education, creativity and business development focused reuses, together with riverfront and downtown development efforts brings meaning to the vision shared by the mayor at his recent State of the City address.   

Further information about ACBA may be found at


Tom Shaw

Technical Education Post, Online Publisher

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