Carillon Tower updates good for 40 years

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BYU Student Ariel Peterson is a carillonneur for the BYU Carillon Tower. Carillon players use the backs of their fists to hit each key (Natalie Stoker).

The iconic BYU Centennial Carillon Tower has undergone some needed maintenance and repairs over the past few months. Repair crews began working on the bell tower at the end of April up until it was re-opened to the public in June.

BYU’s Project Manager Robert Coleman overlooked most of the construction for the Carillon Tower. According to Coleman, the Carillon Tower updates include changed lighting from incandescent to LED, a switch expected to save both money on energy. Additionally, the top of the bell tower has been re-roofed and the tower’s foundation received a seismic upgrade.

The seismic upgrade was not extensive, according to Coleman. Most of the work that was done involved cleaning the tower. Coleman compared cleaning of the Carillon Tower to dentist work.

“When a person goes to the dentist office to get his or her teeth cleaned, the dental hygienist cleans while probing and scanning for cavities. Then after finding the cavities, the dentist comes in and drills them,” Coleman said.

The cleaning process involved power washing the tower to make its exterior appear bright once again. During the cleaning, Coleman noticed some “cavities,” about 30 spots of freeze-thaw damage that needed to be fixed.

“I used dentistry (as an example) because that’s really what it was like when we drilled out the cavities,” Coleman said. “We did not know about these (problems) until we actually started probing, and we had to have the scaffolding in order to do the probing.”

BYU construction director Tony Burdette added that the old concrete pavers by the Carillon Tower were removed to replace the waterproofing underneath. The waterproofing beneath the pavers needed to be replaced so that the two practice rooms below the bell tower will not have any water damage.

“The pavers above are really the rooftop to these practice rooms,” Coleman said.

The deck to the Carillon Tower is now accessible to the public at street-level. There are also new benches added to what Coleman calls the “Reflection Plaza,” where people can listen to the concerts heard ringing from the bells each day at noon.

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