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Altgeld Chimes temporary shut down

Updated: Mar 13

by Aliza Majid

Crowds gathered to hear Altgeld’s Chimes one last time on February 26 with a farewell performance organized by the Altgeld Ringers.

With the upcoming renovations of Altgeld Hall, the chimes will go silent for the next few years which will be a large change for the campus since they have been ringing for over a century.

“Throughout its history. It was performed for over 100 years. Throughout that time, you had some tuning of the bells. We even had a renovation recently, 4 to 5 years ago that stopped them temporarily, but not nearly as long as this one’s going to be,” Michael Broussard, the Chimes Master said.

Both Illini Hall and Altgeld will be renovated as part of this reconstruction process to create and improve facilities on campus.

According to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Altgeld Hall is scheduled to start the renovations this semester, which prompted the temporary closure of the bell tower.

Since Altgeld Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1970, it cannot be completely reconstructed to its historic nature.

This is why the University is focusing on completing a full renovation of the inside in order to uphold the history of the building.

“For future generations, that building's going to have a much better color, higher quality of infrastructure. The chimes room is going to look really nice and be cleaned up, and access to it is going to be a lot easier for a lot of people,” Broussard said.

Students who gathered around the Alma Mater may have come to realize that this would be the last time they would hear the Chimes since they would probably be graduating before the construction is finished.

“I remember my tour guide before I even started my freshman year they pointed out Altgeld and so now it’s like full circle for me as I am leaving I got to hear it one last time and it’s just a very nice moment of reflection on these last four years that have gone by so quickly,” Melissa Kolzow, a senior at the University said.

Witnessing the final chimes this semester brought up bittersweet memories for many upperclassmen as this became a regular part of their life on campus.

“It’s a little sad because I really have always enjoyed walking on the quad and just hearing some random song playing, it always makes my day to just hear the bells going off and the fact that we won’t have that for a few years is kind of saddening but i’m excited to know that it’s not stopping forever,” Grace Rich, a junior at the University said.

The Altgeld Ringers plan to continue to keep this legacy alive even as the bell towers may go silent for the next few years.

“We will have the practice instrument in the school of music so we are still going to be able to still kind of play. So we have some things coming up that we will be announcing pretty soon to keep it going,” Sara Kwilecki, the Assistant Chimes Master said.

A model of the chimes player is also available on the College of Liberal Arts and & Sciences website for people to play on their own time to reminisce about the Chimes.

Altgeld Ringers will continue to be active on social media and have projects planned in order to keep the chimes legacy alive while the construction continues for the next few years.

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