SFA gets new 10 bells for tower on Griffith Fine Arts Building
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It won't be long before melodies are heard once again from the Stephen F. Austin State University bell tower.
This week, the university took delivery on 10 new bells. They're being installed now. East Texas News was there for the arrival to show us what soon will be out of sight to most campus visitors.
That sound hasn't been heard around the SFA campus for over six months. That's about to change.
Restoration and enhancement of the region's only authentic bell tower atop Griffith Fine Arts Building is almost complete.
Ten cast-bronze bells arrived this week to SFA. They were cast in Cincinnati, Ohio by the Verdin Company.
"This year is our 175th anniversary," said Justin McVie, a Verdin service technician. "Still in the family name. They've got bells all over the world."
Intricate scroll work decorates the bells that will soon be out of view to most people.
"The smallest bell weighs 44 pounds. The largest bell weighs 1,300 pounds," McVie said. "And then they range anywhere in between."
A large crane run by a precise operator carefully lift the heavy works of art above the pines. Understandably, no matter how experienced, at this point of the delivery, workers can get knots in their stomach.
"A little bit. Yeah," McVie. "I hold my breath for a second or two."
Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of SFA's College of Fine Arts watched on from rooftop filming every second from the drone he operates.
It will take some time for the bells to be installed, but Nacogdoches residents, you can expect to hear some tunes around town in about a week."
One melody will be familiar to old and new Lumberjacks.
"Instead of the Westminster Chime for the quarter hours, it will be the SFA Alma Mater for the quarter hours," Himes said.
In all, 25 bells operated by a new computer system will play for listeners a variety of melodies.
The Bright Foundation provided funding assistance for the bell tower restoration in its support of historic preservation.
A dedication ceremony will be scheduled.
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