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News Release
Iron Pour
Iron Pour
The Great Iron Pour Students participate in an Ancient Art process at The Colorado Springs School (Photo) - 04/01/24

For Immediate Release

The Great Iron Pour

Students participate in an Ancient Art process at

The Colorado Springs School


 

[COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO] - APRIL 1, 2024] - 
 

The Colorado Springs School (CSS) has offered the Iron Pour program for 30 years. CSS is the only high school in the United States to offer this experience, which is typically something students can only do at a collegiate level. This April marks the 30th year of the program, and CSS is welcoming alumni back to campus for a special Iron Pour on April 6, 2024, to celebrate the tradition.

In March, CSS offered the Great Iron Pour Experience-Centered (ECS), a three-week program that included students breaking down 1,200 pounds of iron for the pour on March 18. The remaining iron will be used for the Alumni Iron Pour on the evening of April 6, outside of the Carriage House on campus.  The iron will need to be heated up to 2,600 degrees and carefully poured into molds by teams outfitted in protective gear. The molds are made into art sculptures and once it is cooled, can take on any shape of that design. The fire that is hot enough to melt iron preps for about 12 hours before the actual pour reaches the melting point. 

The iron that will be used is from the original boiler of the historic Trianon campus building. The Trianon is the original historic estate built by the Baldwin family in 1909, the stately hallmark structure on the 28-acre school campus. 

The Trianon, originally called the Claremont Estate, was built by prominent Scottish architect Thomas MacLaren to mimic the Grand Trianon in Versailles, France with over 22,000 square feet of 18th-century French architecture. The estate was eventually sold and in 1961 a group of founding mothers came together to form a private, preparatory all-girls school.  Currently, the campus serves as an independent school serving students from all over the Pikes Peak region and annually enrolls over 300 children in PreK to 12th grade. The original Carriage House is now converted into the Fine Arts Department on campus, and the courtyard will play host to the Iron Pour reunion. 

The Great Iron Pour ECS engages high school students at CSS through immersion in making and pouring luminous molten metal to create art. The three-week student seminar is a hallmark of intensive and experiential education.

The public is welcome and will be provided a safe viewing area to watch from a distance. Viewers can watch the process itself as the molten iron is poured into molds. This process provides an experience like no other, watching this beautiful ancient process that involves building a fire hot enough to melt iron (2600 degrees), skill, patience, and time. 

During this year's three-week course of study, students have been working alongside Carolyn Ottmers, a nationally renowned artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and the United Kingdom.  (Source Artist Website: https://www.jmkac.org/artist/ottmers-carolyn/

Students work together and create wax and sand molds, assemble a cupola, break iron and bond coke, weld, and work intensely in teams to discover the science and art of an iron pour.

The schedule of events for the pour (weather and variables permitting) includes the pour viewing beginning at dusk (about 7 pm) when the molten lava is fully melted and glowing. 

Fun facts regarding the Iron Pour:

  • 1,200 lbs of iron will be broken down for the pour. The scrap iron has been procured from the school’s historic Trianon building. In 2015, the 110-year-old boiler was replaced but the scrap iron was retained for future iron pours.
  • 200 lbs of purified coal (AKA coke at 95% carbon) will be used to fuel the fire.
  • The cupola will be heated to approximately 3,000 degrees. The cupola is lined with 1,000 lbs of aluminosilicate refractory clay.
  • Tons of sand are being used in multiple grades.
  • Students are using a lost wax process dating back to 2000 B.C. to create molds for their iron sculptures. A more modern space-age technique of dipping the molds in a slurry and covering them with a stucco process is also being used.
  • The Colorado Springs School is the only high school in the country to conduct an Iron Pour from beginning to finish. Students help build and repair all of the equipment used. Everything is from scratch.
  • Check out student blogs on the Iron Pour and other ECS trips: HERE
  • The school has conducted iron pours since 1994. This seminar is offered on a multi-year rotation.

About the Iron Pour ECS Student Program

The Iron Pour ECS is an immersion into the world of making and pouring molten metal to create art. The course relies heavily on teamwork and involves a historic study of the discovery and use of metals, the industry of iron and steel making, the chemistry of metals and refractory materials, and sculpting in wax, clay, and other mediums. Student art is informed by exposure to galleries, museums, and by visiting artists. Iron casting is physically demanding, and teamwork is important as the whole class moves together toward the goal of melting iron and pouring it into molds to make art. This course also includes the pouring of aluminum and bronze, and students learn basic steel forging and welding.

About Experience-Centered Seminars (ECS)

The Iron Pour is offered to students through the Experience-Centered Seminar (ECS) program, a hallmark of intensive study offered each spring. ECSs are an integral part of the Upper School program and teach students the skills necessary to conduct large-scale investigations in college and beyond. Each March, students participate in a three-week study that immerses them in academic subjects through a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach; they do not attend regular classes during this time but focus entirely on seminars. ECSs approach broad, interdisciplinary questions to optimize the teaching of critical thinking, organized inquiry, in-depth analysis, and synthesis of information. They demand direct active participation and primary research in an environment outside of the classroom. Academic requirements include oral and written presentations, term papers, group work, projects, or final exams. The ECS experience sets our students apart as they move into the collegiate world and beyond.

About The Colorado Springs School (CSS)

Founded in 1962, The Colorado Springs School is an independent day school serving students PreK-12th grade, with a student body of approximately 300 students offering small class size, and individualized attention. The founding principles include an experiential education curriculum in all grade levels teaching the whole child. CSS has been awarded Best in Business and other regional awards in education. 

Voted by Niche.com

#1 STEM high school in Colorado Springs

#1 Best Private School in Colorado Springs PreK-12

Media Inquiries:

Media are welcome to attend but must notify us.  For more information, please contact Marie Newbrough, Communications & Marketing Director at: mnewbrough@css.org or call (719) 440-6454

For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact: 

Marie Newbrough

The Colorado Springs School 

719-440-6454

mnewbrough@css.org | www.css.org

Attached Media Files: Iron Pour , Iron Pour 2024
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