A project to rejuvenate the crumbling Springfield Campanile was announced at City Hall Monday.
The clock tower was built as part of the Springfield Municipal group in 1913. President William Howard Taft officiated the opening ceremonies and called it "...one of the most distinctive civic centers in the United States and indeed the world."
Due to the way the tower was constructed, water has been able to get inside and rust the steel beams, according to Michael Teller, project architect from CBI Consulting Inc. He said buildings constructed in that era suffer from the same type of deterioration. He noted, steel expands to seven times it's original size when it rusts and caused several cracks in the limestone on the outside.
CBI Consulting estimated it would cost $20 million to bring the campanile back to its original condition.
Teller said the most challenging part of the project would be access. The entire tower would need to have scaffolding which he said was very expensive. Another challenge would be trying to find the Indiana limestone to match what was there.
The fundraising effort is expected to take about three years. The city would be looking for local, state and federal funds as well as corporate and private funding.
Once funding levels are reached, construction would take about two years to complete.
Teller said the goal is to make the tower appear well maintained instead of new.
Along with structure improvements, the clock mechanism would be repaired and a dozen new, bronze bells would replace those inside the tower.
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