Half the glass has been replaced in the highly revered dome of the Dayton Arcade, and the difference is plain to see.
“It’s night and day,” said Todd Wilde, renovation manager of Super Sky Products, which is handling the project.
The dome has 468 pieces of glass that Super Sky is removing and replacing with energy efficient and safety-compliant glass, officials said. The current 1-inch thick glass is dirty and failing because of age and vandalism.
“It’s going to be a brighter space,” Wilde said. “It will be more thermally efficient, more light characteristics and more impact resistant.”
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Restoration of the Dayton Arcade rotunda began just days after developers closed on financing for a $90 million rehab of the multi-building complex in late April. The glass dome was at the top of the to-do list.
The arcade dome is about 90 feet across and two stories tall. The dome is about 70 feet above the ground.
The skylight is supported by the original steel trusses and girders from 1904 and is divided into 16 pie-shaped sections, officials said.
Originally, the developers thought the entire skylight structure needed to be replaced, including the aluminum frame and supports, potentially costing almost $1 million, developers said.
But Wilde said they inspected the framework and did a forensic evaluation that concluded it was still in good shape and the dome could be “reglazed” instead of fully replaced. Reglazed refers to replacing old glass with new glass.
“The developers are grateful to have such a well-known glass firm caring for Dayton’s beloved rotunda as they have done for other iconic structures around the U.S.,” said Cross Street Partners, the lead developer on the arcade. “As the marque symbol of the Arcade, the rotunda will once again provide fresh daylight to those below.”
The final glass delivery comes next week and there is at least three weeks worth of work remaining on the dome, Wilde said.
The new glass probably can last 20 or more years if maintenance is kept up.
Super Sky Products is one of the leading commercial skylight manufacturers in the country, and has worked on Chicago’s Union Station Great Hall skylight and the Shedd Aquarium rotunda, developers said.