Hmmm...what exactly are we supposed to build??!
Nate Hazen (left), our dome designer, is explaining the full-color "blueprints"
to John Kelley, the steel fabricator; that's Andrew Howard at right. This is
a true "candid" shot -- the flash surprised these guys, and brought all
conversation to a halt.
OK, let's see where it actually goes...
It's March 27th, should be spring -- but it snowed again last night!
Here's (left to right) John Kelley, Robert Stefanik, Andrew Howard, Chris McDonald,
and Jim Mantineo checking out the scene, with dome drawings in hand. We expect
steelwork construction to begin next week.
Walls going up
Closer to a month later we get the news that the steel is going to arrive,
"early in the morning." Turns out the night observer was just shutting down the
dome when a BIGGG crane arrives (around 05:30); by 2PM the walls are up. Sorta --
you can see through them! But, at least they're walls.
Rails and roof (part 1)
Two weeks later the rest of the steel arrives, and up goes the roof!
Here's a shot from the south, with the rail on the east side going up.
You can see that the posts to the north of the main building are already
in place. The rolling roof structure is over to the right -- they built
in in one 16'x24' piece (!), but it was too big to transport that way, so
they cut it into 3 pieces, to be welded together on-site.
Rails and roof (part 2)
Looking from the north you can see the completed rails and support posts.
Now all we need is the roof.
Rails and roof (part 3)
Here's the roof's journey, halfway done: you can see the south piece atop
the rails, while the midsection is swinging over. The date is May 4, 2001.
Rails and roof (part 4)
May 11: All done! (well, almost; it doesn't yet "roll like a bowling
ball," as promised; maybe bigger wheels??) That's Andrew and Chip, looking
just a bit tired from their 40-mile bicycle sprint (Cambridge to Harvard, MA)
in 85-degree weather.
Rails and roof (part 5)
Everyone likes posing on our new observatory platform! Here's Jim Mantineo
(our contractor, on the right) and John Kelley (his steel fabricator), proudly
showing off their creation.
Walls go up (part 1)
Week of May 21, 2001: Walls are happening! That's progress -- but sharp-eyed
surfers may notice that the roof is, well, de-roofed. That's because the
steel guys are going to replace the rollers and tracks with beefier models,
to ensure trouble-free roof-rolling for years to come.
Walls go up (part 2)
While the roof's on the ground, might as well slap on the ol' rafters!
Walls go up (part 3)
The "robustified" roof goes back on June 1 or thereabouts. Here's a closeup
of the new very-heavy-duty tractors, which have been fruitful (and multiplied!).
There are now 15 tractors per side, each with 4 wheels; that's 120 wheels in all.