The UT Austin Tower has been a campus beacon for 85 years and it is now facing its first major renovation since construction.
President Jay Hartzell called the tower an “iconic part of campus.”
The tower was fully constructed in 1937 and originally was the “central library for the university.”
The university’s Board of Regents announced their plan on Wednesday to fund $26 million in renovations of the facade and surrounding grounds.
Hartzell said the tower still looks great from afar, but up close “you can realize it’s time” to refurbish it to its original glory.
The lettering on the outside of the tower has become less pronounced over the years. Jim Nicar of UT History Corner said that there were symbolic images carved into the outside limestone, including gold letters and hieroglyphics, signaling the other languages that served as the building blocks for the English language.
Nicar said this lettering is hard to see now, a sign that the tower “really needs to be renovated” and cannot wait for the tower “to look wonderful again.”
Along with redoing the lettering, there will also be a refurbishment of the observation deck.
Hartzell wants to reestablish the campus as a central place for the whole community and hopes the renovations will contribute to this. He calls it the “campus vibrancy” idea.
Further efforts for this campaign include hosting more live music events and welcoming food trucks on campus.
He hopes the tower refurbishment along with other efforts will act “as a catalyst to bring us back together,” she said. “I think we feel that sense of need to do that more acutely now after COVID than we did before,” she added.