On a cold, blustery weekday, 3 contractors are inside of the Nott Memorial, methodically assembling a lifeline for the centerpiece of Union’s historic campus.

The sound of steel hammered into metal echoes during the iconic landmark. The employees, who are with Duane Builders Inc. DBA Scaffold Builders Associates, are in the early levels of a three–week job to build a huge erector set that will stretch to the building’s elaborate ceiling. It will acquire one more 3 months to crack down the enormous ladder.

Contractors are assembling scaffolding inside the Nott Memorial to repair damage to the ornate ceiling that was caused by a roof leak. The Nott will be closed for up to three months.

The Nott Memorial, the centerpiece of Union’s historic campus, will be closed for up to 3 months. Employees need to have to make repairs to a leaky roof and exchange harmed plaster inside.


In between, employees laboring both inside and outside the house the domed edifice strategy to administer crisis very first aid to the 16-sided architectural treasure. The target is to restore a nagging offender for a lot of property owners: a leaky roof.

So for about the up coming a few months, Union’s marvelous feat of Substantial Victorian Gothic is off limitations to the campus and the general public. It is the longest closure for the Nott considering that it went offline for virtually 18 months as it underwent an extensive multi-million greenback restoration concluded in time for the College’s bicentennial in 1995.

“It’s regrettable we have to do this now, but we have no decision,” reported Marc Donovan ‘05, assistant director of Amenities. “The campus depends on the Nott for numerous things, in particular in the course of finals 7 days when it is a popular analyze room. Even so, the chance is way too substantial to dismiss. This is the ideal conclusion.”

At 89 toes in diameter and 130 toes large, the Nott is a tribute to Eliphalet Nott, Union’s president for 62 many years, the longest tenure of any American college president.

Opened in 1877, the Nott has hosted a museum, a library, a bookstore and a theater. Deemed by lots of the soul of the Higher education, the space has been made use of for lectures, conferences, readings, unique gatherings, and displays in the Mandeville Gallery and Wikoff Student Gallery. In the course of the pandemic, the Nott was pressed into services as a classroom for the 1st time.

Included to the National Register of Historic Locations in 1972 and the Countrywide Historic Landmarks in 1986, the Nott has been featured in a calendar, coloring reserve, and quite a few publications and publications.

Many initially-time site visitors marvel at its elegance.

“It may possibly be all exhibit, but what a present, what a feast for the eye,” noted historian David McCullough claimed at the rededication ceremony in 1995.

As he approached the podium for a speak in February 2006, Chuck D, a founding member of legendary rap team General public Enemy, glanced up at the majestic ceiling and then scanned the group, which filled the Nott.

“Wow. This is some (vulgarity) developing,” he explained.

Nevertheless, like lots of growing old constructions, the Nott suffers the occasional leak. Not too long ago, a chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling to the building’s ground. No site visitors were being inside at the time.

Thermal imaging of the ceiling verified the h2o intrusion, prompting the determination to close the Nott for repairs.

“If a single piece fell, what is to say a further will not,” said Donovan. “It is very important that we suitable the dilemma.”

Correcting the roof of a distinctive area like the Nott poses some challenges.

Inside of, scaffolding will extend to 75 ft above the floor. A plywood deck likened to a wood dance flooring supports two rolling towers to enable contractors accessibility to the ornate ceiling, sprinkled with 709 smaller colored glass home windows, or illuminators. There, they will delicately replace 350 to 450 sq. feet of acoustic plaster 107 earlier mentioned the ground.

A collection of plywood panels underneath shields the medieval multi-colored encaustic tile that make up the Nott’s distinctive floor.

Exterior, contractors will use a 150-foot elevate to inspect the dome perched atop the slate roof to pinpoint the resource of the leak and make the important repairs.

Donovan explained the target is to have the repairs concluded in time for Graduation in June.

As contractors climb extra than 100 toes to attain the roof, perhaps they will come across inspiration from a band of pink slates girding the reduce portion of the dome, which contains a modified Hebrew inscription from the Talmud.

Loosely translated, it reads:

“The day is brief, the do the job is fantastic, the Master presses the workmen.”