After a year of work, the Rotunda's new copper roof was finished months ahead of schedule, replacing the roof made of steel panels coated in terne—an alloy of lead and tin—that was installed in the mid-'70s. The scaffolding that surrounded the building was taken down in time for Final Exercises.
In addition to replacing the leaking roof and oculus, the first phase of the Rotunda restoration project also included repairs to the exterior brick walls, windows and ornamental sheet metal. Future phases will include replacing the elevator, restoring the portico column capitals and improving the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler and data systems.
After lightly sanding the copper and applying a primer coat, painters E. Caligari & Son of Norfolk will paint the dome white with paint containing Teflon, making it more dirt resistant. The paint job should last 20 to 30 years.
The full-scale project is expected to take about five years. The University is currently undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise $26 million that will match funds from the state to cover the total $51 million needed for the full Rotunda renovation.
It Takes a Village
The Rotunda project’s various aspects and those who did the work include the following:
Scaffolding on exterior and interior/Dome Room (Sunbelt Rentals)
Copper roof replacement (W.A. Lynch Roofing)
Wood substrate replacement beneath the new copper roof (R.E. Lee & Son)
Reconstruction of bottom two steps of the roof (Bearing Masonry)
Tension-ring restoration on the roof and painting the roof and wooden windows (E. Caligari & Son)
Exterior brick and window preservation (Centennial Preservation Group)
Fieldwork for metal window restoration (Culbertson Co. of Virginia)
Shop restoration for metal window elements (American Stripping Company)
Replacement oculus fabrication (LinEl, A Division of Mestek, Inc.)