Monument repairs ahead of schedule

SOUTH BASS ISLAND Perry's Victory Monument is in the midst of a repairs and could be finished sooner
May 24, 2010



Perry's Victory Monument is in the midst of a repairs and could be finished sooner than expected, according to a subcontractor.

The monument is being renovated this summer after a 500-pound granite slab fell from the monument in June 2006, closing it for 64 days.

Monument Superintendent Andy Ferguson said the slab could have fallen because of freeze-thaw variations that occur in the spring.

The monument's observation deck closed June 10 for investigation, assessment and temporary repairs.

The grounds and Visitor Center will remain open to the public. A canopy will also allow access to the rotunda at the bottom of the monument, but the observation deck will remain closed for safety reasons.

"If you have a piece the size of a quarter coming from 317 feet it won't kill you, but it will hurt you. And we don't want to risk that," Ferguson said.

Cleveland Marble and Mosaic, a subcontractor for the renovation project, is ahead of schedule, but Field Superintendent Frank Kutuscak said the 17-week project could be extended or shortened.

"It's just a guideline for what's going on," Kutuscak said.

On Wednesday construction workers were working on a 50-foot swing stage to repair 300- to 500-pound granite slabs near the 317-foot-high deck.

The construction workers were evaluating six slabs that were thought to be "questionable," Ferguson said.

Three slabs on the south side of the monument were bolted to the structure with 24-inch steel rods and an 18- to 20-inch steel plate. Two slabs had a visible horizontal crack along the bottom half, but the bolts should restabilize them, Kutuscak said.

Construction workers are taking core samples from the south, east and west sides of the monument along the deck to ensure the concrete below the granite is solid.

"We've found that the concrete is not as solid as we had thought," Ferguson said.

The assessment and repairs will cost about $1 million, but this summer's project is the first of a multi-phased renovation of the monument, Ferguson said. The monument could be completely restored in time for the bicentennial events involving the War of 1812.

"We don't want a short-term fix," Ferguson said. "We want this to stand for another 100 years at least."

Admission to the Visitor Center and grounds is free.

The monument is open to the public from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.