The spire returns to Main Building
The rebuilt spire from Main Building was set into place atop the north tower during a special blessing ceremony April 21, 2010 (See VIDEO of the raising and blessing). University community members gathered on the front lawn of the library to watch as the Sisters of Divine Providence blessed the 5,000-pound structure before it was lifted into place by a crane.
The spire, constructed by Progressive Solutions (see VIDEO of spire being built) at their Broadway location, was moved to the University atop a flatbed trailer in March. The oversized load required special permits, escorts and a route specified by the Texas Department of Transportation. Students, faculty and staff gathered along 24th Street to witness its arrival.
Bartlett Cocke, the general contractor for Main Building, has been preparing the site for the spire. Bricks that were damaged or destroyed during the fire were replaced and the structure was secured. In addition, shingles on the surrounding rooftop were installed (See SLIDESHOW).
A cresting railing was added to the roof line on either side of the statue of Mary. The cresting railing is an original architectural feature that was removed at some point in the history of Main Building.
To recreate the railing, artisan Roman Pena studied old photos of Main Building and created a drawing of the railing. He then carved a form out of wood (See video of process). The wood form was used to make a mold and the mold was used to make a cast aluminum railing. He used a similar process to recreate two weathervanes that used to sit atop the two spires. Recreating these architectural features will assist OLLU with seeking National Register historic designation for Main.
Work on the interior of the building is now complete. Interior walls have been removed to make way for enlarged restroom facilities, a new elevator and a new air conditioning and heating system.
On the second floor, between the two spires, walls have been removed to create a large student common area with computer access. On the third floor, in what was the residence hall wing, walls have been removed to build an executive leadership training area and a new home for the School of Business and Leadership.
As part of the reconstruction, the roof and windows have been returned to the colors they were in 1904 (both wings of the building were complete by 1904), which will also assist with the application for National Register historic designation. The new metal shingles on the roof match the iron oxide paint from 1904. The windows were replaced with double hung windows painted green and cream to match the 1904 exterior. View the architect’s report and renderings.
Upgrades to 24th Street in front of Main Building are progressing. The City of San Antonio and CPS Energy have dedicated more than $2 million dollars to remove the overhead utility lines along 24th Street and bury them. The city also will construct a median on 24th Street, reducing the number of lanes from four to two and providing other upgrades to slow traffic.
Finally, the OLLU Board of Trustees has approved a new Campus Facilities Master Plan which will guide growth and reconstruction for the next 12 years.
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