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Stained glass restoration begins: Project in S.D. Capitol to be completed by 2014

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 21st, 2013

Kevin Grabowski of Conrad Schmitt Studios holds a panel of stained glass removed Monday from the dome of the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre. Stained glass panels from the dome and three other areas of the Capitol will be shipped to Conrad Schmitt Studios near Milwaukee to be repaired so they can be reinstalled by the fall of 2014. AP PHOTO

PIERRE (AP) ó A crew started work Monday to remove the century-old stained glass from the peak of the South Dakota Capitolís dome as part of a project to restore the glass in four areas of the building.

Workers removed panels of stained glass from the dome, placed them in a protective crate and then used ropes to lower the crate 96 feet to the rotunda floor.

The stained glass in the dome is the first to be removed. Workers later will remove stained glass from skylight installations above the House and Senate chambers and above the grand marble staircase between the Capitolís second and third floors.

Officials said a recent assessment found problems caused by age, gravity, original material and design weaknesses in the stained glass installed in 1909. Without repair, the glass could start to fail, they said.

The stained glass panels will be shipped to Conrad Schmitt Studios near Milwaukee, where they will be dismantled, repaired and rebuilt. New structural supports will be added to ensure long-term strength before the panels are reinstalled.

Kevin Grabowski of Conrad Schmitt Studios said the project is complicated because the stained glass is high above the floor and in poor condition. The stained glass will be cleaner, brighter and safer once itís reinstalled, he said.

ďMost of it is going to be peace of mind, knowing they are very stable and will be so for more than 100 years,Ē Grabowski said.

Plans call for the stained glass to be repaired and reinstalled by South Dakotaís 125th anniversary of statehood on Nov. 2, 2014.

For the complete article see the 08-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-20-2013 paper.

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