The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 15, 2002 · Page 24
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 24

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Hays, Kansas
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Sunday, September 15, 2002
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Page 24
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KANSAS SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 15,2002 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS • C5 Capitol dome prepared for Ad Astra statue By SARAH KESSINGER HARRIS NEWS SERVICE TOPEKA — Look up from the Capitol rotunda's ground floor and you will see the glass panels of. the inner dome. Once inside the dome, you can see that the outer'copper dome actually extends 75 feet above the panels. Huffing: and puffing up 306 steps, a small crew of journalists and photographers climbed nearly 300 feet to that controversial summit recently. As we passed around the dome's interior walkway, a quiet, stagnant air gave no clue of the much-debated work on a statue base just above us. Cool breezes outdoors didn't pass in as we made the narrowing ascent — the dome's round windows aren't open. In fact they're covered with wire mesh on the interior to prevent any broken glass from falling into the building. Once we climbed into the "lantern," the 40-foot tall decorative piece atop the dome, we could see that four steel beams had been lowered through the cupola at the very top and braced against trusses to support a steel compression ring. Another set of beams will protrude up from the ring to enforce the statue's base, which replaces a 1,000-watt lightbulb. Soon the base will hold the 6,000-pound bronze statue of a Kansa warrior aiming his bow and arrow at the, North Star. The lightbulb retires ito the Kansas State Historical Society. Despite its purpose of warning airplanes, it didn't meet Federal Aviation Administration standards. Four FAA-approved strobes now will be placed beneath the statue. For $614,000, the state has hired engineers to design the platform, place the beams, add the strobes and new spotlights, and raise the statue 300 feet for bolting into place. Some bash the pricetag as too much for a state struggling to cover its budget. But not state architect Thaine Hoffman. "I'm proud to be a part of it," he said. Early-day Statehouse plans show the building topped by a statue of the Greek goddess of agriculture, Ceres. Some legislators this year complained that the Statehouse restoration project should follow the original plan for a statue. Even architectural drawings for the recent Capitol restoration project show Ceres reigning on the dome. Hoffman disagrees. "I don't see a Greek goddess has anything to do with the state of Kansas," Hoffman said. "I don't think we should do what, an architect said 100 years ago. An 'I don't see a Greek goddess has anything to do with the state of Kansas. I don't think we should do what an architect said 100 years ago. An Indian is much more appropriate.' — Thaine Hoffman, state architect. Indian is much more appropriate." In 1984, the Legislature agreed that a statue should top the Statehouse. The state eventually commissioned Salina artist Richard Bergen to create the sculpture, using private funds. But the contract specified that the state would pay for installation. Hoffman thinks it appropriate that Kansas schoolchildren gave Bergen the idea to sculpt a Native American. Among Bergen's public works in Kansas are other historical figures, such as the statues of a buffalo soldier at Fort Riley and a Pony Express rider at Marysville. The Kansa sculpture, named "Ad Astra" after the state motto, includes historical aspects of the past, realities of the present and dreams of the future, Bergen said. It illustrates the spirit and stability of Kansas. In the lantern, reinforcement work should prevent the statue's movement of more than an inch when winds reach up to 80 miles per hour. The lantern is roomy enough for a stairway that leads to a small catwalk on its exterior. Climbing out onto the walk, a dizzying view of Topeka lies below. Steelworkers there last week pulled tools and beams off a gigantic crane. These men take pride in their project. They have chalked in their union's local number and "The Statue Crew" among graffiti adorning the lantern's interior walls and ceiling. Drawing on those soot-dusted walls and beams was de rigueur for daring tourists decades ago before the dome was closed to the public. The perch for "Ad Astra" will be high enough that Statehouse visitors will need binoculars to see much detail. But a smaller version of the statue will stand on a small plaza on the grounds below. The bronze warrior will join other Capitol artwork depicting the region's people prior to white settlement. First- and second-floor murals by John Steuart Curry, Lumen Martin Winter and David H. Over myer include early-day Indians. Among the oldest is an 1882 painting of a Native American within a mural on the ceiling of the House of Representatives chamber. TOM DORSEY / Harris News Service TOP LEFT: A crane towers over the Capitol building last week in Topeka. Workers used the crane to lift too|s and beams to the top of the dome as they prepare it for the 6,00'0-pound .bronze statue of aKanza Indian. BOTTOM LEFT: Matt Jordan, Topeka, a union iron worker for Kaw Valley Iron Erectors, works amid a tangle of steel braces used to hold scaffolding around the lantern. Four columns are being placed in the lantern to hold the platform that Ad Astra will be attched to. ABOVE: Scaffolding surrounding the lantern on the dome of the state Capitol building 'will allow workers to install Ad Astra on the top platform. c^l r/ottA ,!•/<!• 1011 -Hi ' N'l ! "t£epast century, one Jfaus institution has stimulated the economy ^contributed to our quality of life li£e no otner. Cow is your opportunity to join t£ese Susinesses and seroice or to pay iri£ute to and congratulate JJi^Hon tne occasion of it. "qamzations IB. t£e October 11, 2002 e Jfat/s T)ai{u J^Cews v^' w£ere you 'fl find special tributes from the following: Kline's Paul-Wertenberger Construction Commerce Bank Mooretours Golden Plains Credit Union Docking Family Home Sweet Home Sit & Sleep Center Hays Medical Center Centennial Carpet Hays Public Library Golden Belt Bank Horst, Terrill& Karst Architects, P.A. Physical Therapy Plus Sunflower Electric City of Hays Herte.1 Tank Service, Inc. Brown's Shoe Fit Eber Phelps - State Representative U-Save Pharmacy "Midwest Energy Schwaller& Associates Convention Visitors Bureau . Ellis County Coalition Hays Area Chamber of Commerce Liberty Group CS Post And Co. Carpet One Vitztum Decorating Adams, Brown, Beran&Ball Chartered CPAs WestlakeAce Hardware Alco University of Kansas Kansas State University Pittsburg State University Wichita State University Dillons , Classic. Quality Body Shop Stecklein Brungardt P.A. Architects Mortgage Sources Corp. The Mall-Hays Heartland Building Center , Western Beverage Inc. The Furniture Look Compare Computers Lewis Chrysler . . .Emporia State University, Westlink Communications Home Lumber. Company James Motor Company Vitztum Commercial Flooring Hutchison Vending First National Bank Glassman Corporation Hays Ford Gib's Auto Suppy/NAPA Congressman Jerry Moran The United Way of Ellis County Koch Industries 'SamBrownback-U.S. Senator Dan Johnson-State Representative EnerSys FHSU Graduate School Emprise Bank Midwest Drug Center Brungardt Hower Ward Elliott & Pfeifer, LC Insurance Planning A&ACoors KUMed. Center Doerfler's Harley Davidson Nex-Tech . Meckenstock • Carrico Implement Kuhn's Diamond Jewelers ,• Jam's Lee - State Senator • Sunflower Bank Marianna Beach Volga German Society / Carrier Garden Restaurant > Hays Memorial Chapel Purdy's Pharmacy Eagle Communications THE 507 Main Hays

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