The construction on the Burton Memorial Tower on Central Campus will finish on time, a University official confirmed yesterday.
“Work continues and the project is still scheduled to be completed by September 2011,” University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an e-mail.
The building, also known as the bell tower, has been under construction this past year as changes to improve its structure are being made. The construction is projected to cost $1.6 million, according to a Sept. 15, 2010 University press release.
Exterior work on the tower consists of replacing metal flashing and repairing the stonework. Interior work includes repairs to the concrete and steel structure that supports the carillon. Other renovations include the replacement and waterproofing of the bell chamber floor and the replacement of the transmission systems on bells affected by the structural work, the press release states.
According to a proposal submitted to the University’s Board of Regents on June 17, 2010, the repairs are necessary because of the damage and deterioration of the building’s infrastructure.
Throughout the construction, the carillon and its chimes have been temporarily silenced. This is the second time in the tower’s 75-year history that the bells have not rung routinely, according to a June 2010 University press release.
The last time the chimes and bells were silenced was in March 2006 after a pair of peregrine falcons, which are on the Michigan endangered species list, were spotted on the tower, according to a March 13, 2006 Michigan Daily article.
Because peregrine falcons are frequently observed on the tower, the current construction schedule works around them, according to the September press release.
In addition to the silenced chimes, the clock permanently displays the time as 6:30. However, the clock should work properly by the end of the school year.
LSA sophomore Amanda Czik said she’s noticed the silence of the tower during the day, but understands its necessity.
“It’s weird not hearing the chimes anymore,” Czik said. “But I think the construction is important for the building, so it’s not that big of a deal to me.”
In addition to keeping time for people on campus, the tower also houses School of Music, Theatre & Dance classrooms and offices for the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University Musical Society and Charles Baird Carillon. These locations, however, are unaffected by the construction, according to the September press release.
Though the construction has been in progress for the majority of the school year, students say it doesn’t seem to have a large impact on their daily routines.
“I have class in the Modern Language Building, so I walk by the bell tower often,” Czik said. “The construction stays out of the way of most students, so I am looking forward to the improvements of the tower.”