Mission underway to repair an icon  

hair curlersPeople next month will look up in the sky and see not a bird, not a plane, but an enormous helicopter hauling what appears to be a hair curler that weighs 17,000 pounds.

May 8, weather permitting, is when the eastern most of the four sky station sculptures atop Bartle Hall will be hauled off for repairs.

The city council finance committee on Wednesday approved a $1.3 million contract for the work. It goes to the full city council today for final approval.

The sculptures people call the hair curlers were installed among great controversy in 1994, but lighting finally damaged one of the now iconic symbols of something.

City Architect Eric Bosch told the committee that lightening rods protect the sculptures and at least one is probably hit in any big storm.

“We think this had a hit in a different area than normal,” he said.

The city’s property insurance will ultimately pay for all the repairs except for $150,000, he said.

The work will be done by A. Zahner Co., the Kansas City fabricator who built the curlers in the first place.

Bosch said the city hopes to get the repaired curler back up in September, but until then the downtown skyline will have a hole.

Will citizens be able to see the grounded curler close up, just asking, said Councilman Scott Wagner.

Bosch said he did not know if it would be viewable at the fabrication business near 9th and the Paseo.

If it is in an open work space, it will be hard to miss, Bosch said, given that it is 40 feet tall.

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