COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN
Dome Building project manager Daryl Knight holds one of the restored windows unveiled at a Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Work to restore and rebuild the 164 antique windows and 1,164 window panes for the Dome Building on the Keystone Centre grounds has been completed, much to the joy of Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba general manager Karen Oliver.
"It’s a huge piece of progress for this project," Oliver said, noting approximately $800,000 has been raised in a $2.5-million capital campaign for the restoration of the building, officially known as Display Building No. 2.
"The installation of those windows will be a sign to the public of how the project has moved ahead and what a community partnership can accomplish."
In February 2011, the windows were taken to the Commonwealth Air Training Program Museum near the Brandon Municipal Airport, and the restoration work began. Work was completed a couple of weeks ago, and took 3,000 volunteer hours.
"The first thing we had to do was clean up all the windows of the old putty and old paint," Sneesby said. "Then we could see which ones we could repair and which ones we had to replace. They are very close to the originals. They have the same contours. It took a lot of research, and one of the things we learned was to mix linseed oil and turpentine half and half, so it absorbs into the wood."
The wood used for the windows was old and needed treatment to allow the paint to adhere to the surface of the wood.
Sneesby estimates that between 75 and 80 per cent of the original glass was used. Eight of the larger windows had been destroyed several years ago and had to be rebuilt from scratch, but using similar methods to the original construction to maintain an authentic restoration. That meant using 83 litres of putty, seven gallons of linseed oil, seven gallons of turpentine and 21 gallons of paint.
In providing a fundraising update, Oliver said the campaign, initiated during the 2011 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and chaired by Gord and Diane Peters, has been picking up steam and could be complete as early as the fall. The Provincial Ex had to raise $2.5 million for the cost-shared project. The provincial and federal governments have also signed on as partners.
"We are one-third of the way there," Oliver said. "We anticipate a couple of announcements on that in the near future. The first $800,000 is the hardest part. Quite a number of donors have indicated we need to come and see them."
The project is slated to be completed in 2013, the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Dome Building.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 3, 2012