Outlook Magazine - Fall 2020


ne refurbished quill, two years, 30,000 new bricks and $8.95 million later, UW-Stout’s Bowman Hall is

ready for another 100 years.

Work on the historic brick building, with its iconic Clock Tower and omnipresent bells, wrapped up in the spring, including the dramatic April 23 resetting of the quill 135 feet high on the roof. The quill has been UW-Stout’s high, shining symbol that education is a way forward ever since founder James Huff Stout’s building opened in 1898. Although the reinstallation was not witnessed by many because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became a much-needed symbol of perseverance during an otherwise challenging time for campus and was widely shared via social media. The process of reinstalling the quill — it was removed for repairs in August 2019 — included first hoisting a tapered copper cupula that sits atop a new copper roof; followed by reinstalling a two-foot-high decorative torch at the top of a central pole; and then the quill. High over the city with about 10 mph winds, a team of harnessed workers on the rooftop corners used ropes attached to the cupula to help guide the quill over the pole. Two workers in a bucket, hanging from a crane, then reattached the torch and quill. The quill consists of a “feather” about nine feet long and two feet high and a “pen” about 4½ feet long that is weighted to provide balance. The quill’s two copper plates were patched, shored up with a new skeleton and resoldered at the top seam. As when it was first installed, the quill will now spin with the wind again after the replacement of the failed turning mechanism. “The quill is such a visible and memorable part of Bowman Hall. People know it and understand its importance and history in the community,” said Mike Bowman, project manager for Facilities Management at UW-Stout. The project contractor was Building Restoration Corp. of Roseville, Minn. “One of the biggest challenges was fabricating everything at their shop to make it fit perfectly in the field. Great construction workers and technicians worked on this and made it happen,” Bowman said. The overall Bowman Hall restoration project began in spring 2018. Most of the work was on the exterior, including repointing all exterior mortar joints, replacing about 30,000 worn bricks, repairing and replacing many of the brownstone accents and installing new windows and doors. The interior of the one-story extension on the south side of the building, the location for Registration and Records, was also remodeled.

The quill, originally installed in spring 1898, is loaded into a bucket before being lifted by a crane to the top of Bowman Hall.

Workers reinstall the UW-Stout quill April 23 on the Bowman Hall Clock Tower, part of a building restoration project.


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