Go inside the UT Tower upgrade
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The University of Texas Tower is about to get a much-needed upgrade. The 76-year-old building was erected before air conditioning was even invented. The iconic building finally got an A/C unit in the mid-60's, so the current unit is over 45 years old. Now, UT officials say the A/C unit has to go.
"It's a little bit different project than if you’re A/C goes out at home, and you call the guy and he replaces the pan, and he's done. It's a big deal," Bill Throop, Director of Project Management and Construction Services, said.
The challenge UT faces is the A/C unit is 29 stories above ground, crammed between a wall and the clock.
"What we needed was an opening to get at it," Mike Platis, project manager, said.
This is the view from the tower.
The opening will come at the cost of ripping out three 2,700 pound stones that make up the observation deck. They will then have to cut a hole in the decorative limestone around the north clock.
"In order to take this piece of wall out, we've got to take these lights out too. So, this section of light will be cut out and removed from here. That is why we won't have any lights on the north side of the tower for the duration of the project," Throop said.
The face of the tower isn't the only thing being tampered with. The gears for the north-facing clock will be disconnected too.
"So the clock will be set to something like 12 o'clock or something for these 7 months, but the other 3 clocks will work," he said.
Defacing the tower, closing the observation deck and turning off the north lights are all part keeping this landmark working inside and out.
"You know, we love buildings, and they are going to stay," Platis said. "And, so we have to renew them. So, it's just a big endeavor to keep up with the renewal but it's a necessary thing."
The work begins in July and should be completed by February 2011.