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June 10, 2010 Volume 31, No. 31

Column repairs under way

On June 1, construction workers began cosmetic repairs to the bases of the Columns on the Francis Quadrangle. The sections being repaired are structurally sound and are not part of the original Columns.

“The Columns are one of the university’s and the state’s greatest treasures,” says Gary Ward, associate vice chancellor-facilities. “External experts completed an analysis and found no problems with the bases, but they did find hairline cracks. While these don’t pose any structural problems, they recommended that we address the cracks before they get worse.”

The current square concrete bases were placed around the Columns to protect the original bases in 1949. The original bases also continue to be structurally sound.

“We’re going to wrap a material made of fiber around the base of the Columns,” says Bob Unrath, assistant director for planning and design. “We’ll cover the material with concrete. Our goal is to protect the existing concrete from further cracking.”

Experts have concluded that the 1892 fire did more damage to the Columns than any natural or manmade elements combined since that event.