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Dome repairs needed now

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, March 24, 2005

On March 4, 2005, the University announced we would be undertaking a major effort to regild the Golden Dome atop the Main Building, beginning March 7. The project, as was originally articulated, outlined the need to regild the Golden Dome for the first time in 18 years; a means to redress and refresh our campus landmark. The project, however, is far more significant an undertaking than cosmetic correction and unfortunately could not be delayed until after Commencement. On behalf of the University administration, we hear and understand your disappointment surrounding the scaffolding and construction. We appreciate and sympathize with the visual impact it will have on you at graduation. Unfortunately, there is no way it could be avoided. Although the Main Building is safe for continued use, the dome suffers from structural damage and water leakage that are impacting the integrity of the landmark. While the regilding process itself will be lengthy, the project also encompasses structural repairs, stripping of the finish from the base of the dome prior to repainting, repairing and sealing of cracks in the statue of Mary, and, finally, the hand-applied regilding. This process will take at best six months due to the structural and base repairs. This was not a factor in the last Golden Dome facelift and could not be delayed to a May start because weather plays such a critical role in restorative architectural projects of this sort.The Golden Dome remains our University’s most cherished landmark. We must continue to protect the integrity of the structure as well as its beauty. We ask your understanding and cooperation in recognizing the need to assure the Golden Dome shines brightly for the future. Thank you all for your patience, understanding, and most importantly, your undying passion for Notre Dame.

John Affleck-GravesExecutive Vice President March 23