Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burton Memorial Tower carillon to be silent for the next few months

The familiar sound of the Burton Memorial Tower carillon will be absent from Central Campus starting this week. The bells and chimes will be out of service through the fall and early winter while renovations to U-M’s landmark tower continue.

The university is repairing stonework and replacing metal flashing on the tower and repairing the metal framework supporting the carillon. Emergency repairs were last made in 2008 to fix cracking and falling limestone.

The Board of Regents approved the repair work in June, necessitating the carillon to be silenced for only the second time in its 75-year history. The chimes and bells stopped playing the first time in March 2006 after a pair of peregrine falcons was sighted on the tower.

A phased construction schedule allows for work around the falcons, which have become regular campus visitors. According to environment and wildlife experts, there is no evidence of successful nesting on the tower. The peregrine falcon has been removed from the federal endangered species list but remains on the state of Michigan endangered species list.

Burton Tower houses classrooms for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, offices for the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, the University Musical Society and the Charles Baird Carillon.

The project will cost $1.6 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in August and should be completed in the summer of 2011.