An important update…

In a previous post we shared that the folks from Hennebery Eddy Architects along with John Garlitz of J-U-B Engineers had begun the process of determining the condition of the Grand Staircase, the cause of its deterioration, what needs to happen next, and the approximate costs involved.

That work has been completed and Hennebery Eddy has shared their findings with EOU and others involved in efforts to save this architectural treasure.

As in often the case, a picture (or in this case a diagram) “is worth a thousand words”.  The one below (courtesy of Hennebery Eddy) illustrates the extent to which the Grand Staircase has deteriorated.   The areas in red indicate parts and pieces that are either missing or are in such severely damaged condition that they would need to be replaced.  Additionally, all of the other components would need some sort of intervention.

Staircase in red

One could say that the fate and longevity of the staircase were actually cast back in 1929.  Construction techniques and the quality of materials available at the time were no match for decades of freeze and thaw cycles (as well as other factors that contributed to the deterioration).

The Hennebery Eddy report indicates that restoration of the staircase would result in a longevity of less than 20 years.  As a result it has been determined that restoration is not a viable option.

However (and this is the good news!) reconstruction is.

How would that work?

3D laser scanning technology would be used to achieve a high level of accuracy.  Unit and material samples would be carefully salvaged to use in creating accurate molds and matching material appearances.  The design, setting, and feeling associated with the staircase would be preserved PLUS improvements to the site, structure, snow and water management, and material integrity would result in a Grand Staircase with an expected longevity of 100 years.

So, what happens next…?

Eastern Oregon University is currently actively exploring options for funding the reconstruction of the Grand Staircase.   As more information becomes available, we’ll keep you posted – both here and on the Facebook page.  These things do take time, however, so it is likely that we won’t have an update for some months.

In the meantime we will continue to share interesting tidbits about and photos and memories of our beloved “college steps”.

Thank you all for your interest in and response to our efforts.



3 thoughts on “An important update…

  1. Perhaps a call for donations to every alumni to help in whatever way they can. My aunt attended EONS (when it was a Normal School) getting her BA in 1954; I studied elem educ there in 1975. I would donate in my aunt’s memory.
    Keep us posted with updates.

    This staircase is too beautiful to lose, as is such an important part of EOU history.

    • Hi Melissa, Donations are always welcome and a donation in memory of your aunt would be wonderful. Donations can be made to the Eastern Oregon University Foundation . Those wishing to donate should be sure and specify that the money is to go to the Save the Grand Staircase fund. Currently efforts are primarily focused on obtaining funds from grants and other major funding sources. Many times these types of things require matching funds so there may come a time in the future where a “call for donations” would indeed be an excellent course of action. Thank you so much for your interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *