UNG's Price Memorial Hall gets new gold
The golden tipped steeple of Price Memorial Hall is getting a new $400,000 shine.
Last week work began on a highly specialized regilding process that will remove the old layer of gold from the top of the iconic University of North Georgia building and replace it with a brand new layer.
“There is a chemical and mechanical process of stripping the old gold,” stated UNG's Assistant Vice President for Facilities Ken Crowe. “Then the copper will be primed, and…an adhesive material for the gold leaf will be installed. The American gold, which was sent to Italy to be hammered into leaf sheets, will then be installed.”
That process is being handled by The Gilders’ Studio, a Maryland based company famed for spearheading such towering projects as the New York Life Building and the Great Hall of the National Academy of Sciences.
It’s a project will include structural repairs of the building and is expected to take about six weeks once the new gold arrives.
Which begs the obvious question, what happens to the old gold?
Sadly, its a lost cause said Crowe.
“The gold is removed by a chemical process that destroys it,” he said. “So it cannot be reclaimed.”
The new layer of gold is worth $62,000 and has been sent overseas where it will be forged into sheets ready to wrap around the squared steeple.
“The original hope was that the gold could be restored or cleaned,” said Crowe. “But replacement was the only way to fully restore it because some gold was missing. This was found through drone footage. Birds and time contributed to the need for replacement of the gold.”
This is the second big refurbishment for the steeple which saw a similar regilding in 1999. Though the building was orginally constructed in 1879, the gold wasn’t placed on the steeple until the college’s 100 anniversary in 1973.
When the regilding project is complete this fall, it will bring an extra shine but one less perch for the local feathered flocks.
“The weather vane will also come down,” said Crowe, “in hopes of deterring birds from perching on the steeple.”