Tune in Sunday to see West Virginia University President Gordon Gee, bowtie and all, hammering nails and sawing wood as the Barnwood Builders episode, taped earlier this year at WVU Jackson’s Mill, airs on the DIY network Sunday (Aug. 5) at 9 p.m.
WVU alumnus and host of Barnwood Builders Mark Bowe coordinated the project to help bring the new center to life. The show was taped in April at Jackson’s Mill where participants joined together in a team-building exercise to build the timber frame structure, made of 350-year-old wood, offsite at the company’s “Boneyard” and transported the building in pieces to the site. A team from Jackson’s Mill coordinated the site prep work, and Bowe and his crew instructed the WVU team – using tools and techniques from pioneer days – on completing the necessary construction, raising the structure and putting on the finishing touches.
The group worked for three days through rain, flooding, snow and sleet, to build the 16-by-20-foot structure which will be used as a craft education center where visitors, including 4-Hers, will learn about Appalachian heritage, including candle making, quilting, cooking and more. The building also will serve as a home for Appalachian artisans who want to showcase their work and teach others about their craft. A team from Jackson’s Mill has been working with contractors to complete the building and anticipates the project will be completed in August.
Led by Gee, about 25 leaders from around the University, including deans, vice presidents, staff and students, participated in the build.
Barnwood Builders donated the structure to WVU Jackson’s Mill and is working with WVU to offer this one-of-a-kind team-building experience to others.
Bowe worked as a coal miner while completing his bachelor’s degree at the College of Business and Economics, and later received a master’s degree in safety management from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. He founded his company, Antique Cabins and Barns, in 1995. He and his longtime crew have reclaimed more than 400 pioneer-era structures.