The iconic Tower at The University of Texas at Austin will undergo temporary, visible changes between July 2010 and February 2011 while the air-handling unit on the observation deck level of the Tower is replaced.
The unit that cools the Tower levels from the 15th floor to the observation deck (level 29) is 45 years old and failing. Despite numerous repairs, some of the Tower floors cannot be cooled below the mid-80-degree point in summer months.
The observation deck will be closed to visitors and tours. All exterior Tower lighting on the north face – white as well as orange – will be disconnected for the duration of the project. Only three sides of the Tower will be illuminated.
Movement on the north clock will also be stopped for the duration of the project. With access to the primary carillon closed, the carillonist will play from a remote keyboard that does not allow all bells to be played.
The paved area directly north of the Tower will be fenced off, and both adjacent courtyards will be closed. Cranes will be set up to move equipment and materials to and from the Tower. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic around the north side of the Main Building will be rerouted.
Actual turnover of the system from the old to the new air-handling unit will occur during the university’s winter holiday break in December. In January and February, the site and operations will be returned to normal.
The university’s Project Management and Construction Services Department will manage the project.