Phase I of LaGrange Roll-off Restoration is Complete!

From our previous update post on the LaGrange Observatory, we updated the success of rolling the roof back for the first time in many years.  Today’s trip to LaGrange Mountain completed several very important tasks in Phase I:

  • Completing a lateral reinforcement to prevent rail movement when the roof load is traveling
  • Pouring a small concrete landing to drain the rain away from the door
  • To determine the next set of projects for Phase II

Mike Worthy and L. C. Lenz arranged the materials for today’s work, and then Mel Blake and I came out to do whatever we were told.

The lateral reinforcement was a relatively easy task. It simply required adding three new boards between the centermost point on the roll-off rails, and completing the task with 45° struts between these stabilizers and the support posts.  Oh, and ducking one’s head to keep from hitting the new stabilizers.  We learned that lesson over… and over… and over.

The next step was much different from our first experience in concrete, where we just created a slurry and packed it around the posts.  This time, there was math involved.  We determined our needs to build the stoop, set in (and reinforced) forms, and then mixed and poured concrete.

(While this may not be the correct place to editorialize, and while I’m not going into great detail, I want to say as loudly as I can on the internet: I utterly hate computing inches to thirty-secondths, and exploring irrational 12:1 ratios to count feet.  We need to convert to the metric system.)

The final step was to smooth out the poured concrete, and to include one more detail during the smoothing.  In the image to the right, you should notice a brass medallion seated in the concrete.  This medallion will be a topic at our brief meeting before the picnic on July 15th.  But for now, it’s merely a literary device, designed to increase the suspense.

What ends this chapter sets the scene in the next chapter. Phases II and III will include weatherstripping, lighting improvement, preserving the old MSAS telescope, completing the rail guides, and possibly replacing or removing the benches that currently line the observatory.  We will likely take the preservative steps first, and deal with the improvements as they come.

We hope everyone will come enjoy the fellowship at our club picnic on Saturday, and see all the changes first-hand!

Clear skies,

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