Alma Mater Nearing Completion: Statue Set to Return Sometime in April

A two-year absence of the Alma Mater statue at the University of Illinois will be over at some point next month.

Before the restoration

Before the restoration

What was supposed to be a nine-month procedure turned into a much longer and much costlier project than expected. Complications in the preservation forced the workers to conduct a much more in-depth procedure. In addition, the original estimate was $92,000, but the resulting cost was $360,000, nearly four times that amount. This is being paid entirely via donations to the Chancellor’s fund.

The reason for this is the bolts on the inside of the statue that held the pieces together. Many of them were found to be rusted and deteriorated after over 30 x-rays were taken of the statue, so lead conservator Andrzej Dajnowski and his team had to change their strategy.

After the restoration

After the restoration

The goal following this discovery was to have the Alma Mater statue back in time for the class of 2014’s commencement ceremony. While the official date has not been released, campus historic preservation officer Melvyn Skvarla said that the date will be released shortly.

Click here to listen to my audio package on the return of the Alma Mater statue for assignment 7.

In addition, you can view the script to my audio package below:

CHARLIE MANIATES REPORTER 

 

MELVYN SKVARLA CAMPUS HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANNY DUERDOTH LAW STUDENT

 

 

 

 

DEREK STEINWEG SENIOR IN GRAPHIC DESIGN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAKE AUDIO PKG FULLTRACK 1After nearly a two-year absence, the Alma Mater is finally returning to the University of Illinois next month.The project was originally supposed to take 9 months, but complications led to a longer, more costly preservation.The total cost was $360,000, nearly four times the original estimate. Melvyn Skvarla, campus historic preservation officer, explains why the cost was so high and why it took longer than expectedTAKESOT- MELVIN SKVARLA CAMPUS HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER“The bolts holding the individual pieces together were deteriorating and rusting.”

TRACK 2

Skvarla added that the two-year process will allow the statue to be preserved for the next 80 years, with annual maintenance including reapplication of the wax coating and any necessary cleaning or repairs.

Unfortunately for graduates last year, they were unable to be photographed with the alma mater due to the complications. Danny Duerdoth, a current law student at the university, was disappointed when he graduated last May.

TAKE SOT- DANNY DUERDOTH

“To be the only class to have the alma mater absent on graduation day I thought really took some spirit out of what was supposed to be a special day”

TRACK 3

Current students are also awaiting her return with expected graduates eager to see her after they walk across the stage in May. Derek Steinweg, a senior in graphic design, is one of those students.

TAKE SOT- DEREK STEINWEG

“I was starting to think that it wouldn’t be back in time, but I’m really glad that they were able to get the job done before we graduate in May.”

TRACK 4

The official unveiling date for next month has not yet been released, but Skvarla said it should not be long before the university releases it.

For off the shelf and online, I’m Charlie Maniates.

*Photos provided by the University of Illinois

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