May 11, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 16

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    Oriental Institute’s deflecting roof will be replaced

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    On the heels of a successful new addition to the Oriental Institute, another major project is being planned. Workers will begin the first of two phases of a roof-replacement project at the museum in early June. Phase one will continue through the beginning of Autumn Quarter, and phase two will begin the following summer.

    [roof] by lloyd degraneWork on the 68-year-old roof will not affect the museum’s daily operations. “This project will not be disruptive to museum visitors. They will see scaffolding outside and there probably will be some noise, but it will not be constant,” said Karen Wilson, Museum Director. Wilson said most of the galleries are separated from the roof by at least one floor.

    The museum’s roof has suffered because its base layer of concrete panels has begun to bow.

    The Oriental Institute has one of the largest roofs on campus, measuring 33,000 square feet, of which 28,000 comprise clay tile and 5,000, flat roof. The roof has three layers from top to bottom––clay tile, liner materials and a 3 1/2-inch concrete deck panel, which will be replaced with a metal panel and completely waterproofed.

    Wilson said water has begun to leak into the museum’s reading room. Although there is no threat to the museum collections, water damage has affected some of the reading room’s original stenciling done in the 1930s.

    “We have been desperate to get a roof before any significant damage could occur,” Wilson said.

    During the past year, Facilities Services reviewed a number of contract proposals and finally selected Knickerbocker Roofing for the project. Barry O’Quinn, Supervisor in Facilities Services, said the roofer’s cost, resources and, most significantly, methodology would allow the museum to continue business as usual. The cost for phase one is budgeted at $1.4 million.

    The roofers expect to remove 600 square feet of tile a day. They will replace panels, waterproof and tile in sections, progressing across the north and west sections for phase one. A crane will be used for eight weeks during the summer to lift off the giant slabs of concrete. Inspec Inc., an engineering and architectural company, will oversee the removal and installation of the deck and roof systems.

    Phase one will be completed by Oct. 21––in time for the arrival of a traveling exhibition from the University of Pennsylvania titled “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.” The collection will be on display in the North Gallery and will include objects from a Mesopotamian royal cemetery dating to 2500 B.C. The exhibition will continue through Jan. 21.